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How Visual Acuity Is Measured for Social Security Disability Benefits


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8/2/2013
John L. Keefe
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Although you may have difficulty seeing well, Social Security Disability Insurance rules require that certain standards be met before you are able to receive benefits. When applying for Social Security disability benefits for blindness or visual impairment, you must submit test results that demonstrate the limits of your ability to see.

Submitting the right test results is critical to your case. Here are some of the considerations you must be aware of when it comes to determining your visual acuity.

  • Visual Acuity Testing. During your visual acuity test, your eyesight will be judged based on the best-corrected eyesight. This means the best vision score that you can achieve with the use of corrective lenses. The standard methodology for these tests involves using a Snellen chart to evaluate your vision.
  • Other Test Charts. Testing charts for visual acuity vary. If you use an alternate chart to the Snellen chart typically used, you may be determined to have statutory blindness even if your vision is between 20/100 and 20/200.
  • Testing with a Specialized Lens. Specialized lenses, such as a contact lens, may be used to determine your visual acuity on a regular basis. If your eyes are able to tolerate a contact lens or other type of specialized lens on a sustainable basis, you may not be eligible for benefits.
  • Cycloplegic Refraction. In this test, you will receive eye drops that will temporarily paralyze your focusing muscles and slow the ability of your pupil to become smaller. The results of this test can sometimes be used to determine your best-corrected visual acuity.
  • Visual Evoked Response (VER) Testing. This type of test measures how you respond to visual stimulation. The test is used to determine abnormalities in your vision that other tests may not be able to find. If your better eye does not respond to visual events, then you will be determined to have less than 20/200 visions. This qualifies you for disability under the criteria from the Social Security Administration.

With the complex nature of the law, it can be difficult to know exactly what you should submit in order to provide the best information possible in your application. Consult with a Boston Social Security lawyer to learn more about these tests and other pieces of evidence you will want to submit with your application. You can connect with Keefe Disability Law by calling 888-904-6847 toll-free.



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John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney of Keefe Disability Law

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