What Is a Legally Blind Prescription?

What is a legally blind prescription? The answer may surprise you. Learn everything you need to know in this quick guide.

A 20/200 vision defines someone as visually impaired. People who are not able to read the large E on the top line of an eye chart are considered legally blind. At this stage, people usually take a legally blind prescription.

These prescriptions aim to help people overcome visual conditions and achieve improved vision. However, not everyone understands the term — so what is legally blind prescription, exactly?

If you have been recently diagnosed as legally blind or maybe someone you know, keep reading and you will find out more about legally blind prescriptions and how they can help.

Visual Acuity Threshold

A legally blind prescription is known as a visual acuity threshold. It is a medical term used to describe a level of vision impairment that impairs a person’s ability to sufficiently interact with their environment. A legal blind prescription is the maximum level of vision impairment.

To meet the legal blind prescription criteria, a person’s vision in both eyes, performed with the best correction, must not exceed 20/200. Or, the visual field must be narrowed to no greater than 20 degrees.

Visual Field Consideration

Visual field consideration is important when discussing the legally blind prescription. The visual field is the extent and area of what we can see to the periphery when looking at a point directly in front of us.

Generally, a person with visual acuity worse than 20/200 in the better eye with the best correction and a peripheral visual field of 20 degrees or less is considered to be legally blind. However, other states may have different standards for legal blindness.

Maximum visual acuity may also vary. It can also factor in the degree of tunnel vision. Any significant visual field restriction is taken into consideration for a legally blind prescription.

Certification by an Eye Care Professional

A legally blind prescription is the official document presented to a patient by an eye care professional. It confirms that their patient is legally blind according to the criteria set forth by the federal, state, and/or local government.

Certification by an eye care professional can be completed by:

  • an optometrist
  • an ophthalmologist
  • an optician

This eye doctor has the appropriate credentials and licensing needed to issue the prescription. The legally blind prescription will include the patient’s:

  • visual acuity readings
  • visual field test results
  • other specialized testing results

This legally binding prescription is essential for legally blind individuals to access services and benefits available through blindness and vision-related organizations. It’s also useful for the patient to seek support from the government.

Legal and Financial Implications

A legally blind prescription is a set of criteria mandated by the federal government that defines when an individual is classified as legally blind. This classification has significant legal and financial implications.

That is simply because of the benefits and tax credits that are available for those who qualify. Those with a legally blind prescription may be eligible for:

  • Social Security Disability Insurance
  • Supplemental Security Income
  • tax deductions for blindness
  • benefits from other government programs

It is important to understand the legal and financial implications of this classification. That way, one can ensure eligibility for available benefits. 

Understand What is Legally Blind Prescription

So, what is legally blind prescription? A legally blind prescription is a document that defines the degree of a person’s visual loss.

Additionally, it assists in determining whether the individual is eligible for special government financial aid. Thus, having a legally blind prescription is essential for those with any degree of visual impairment.

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