What Eye Problems Qualify For Disability?

Submitted by rsg on

Few medical conditions impact your ability to work than eye problems. While many people dealing with visual disorders believe that you have to be totally blind in order to qualify for disability benefits, the truth is any significant degree of vision loss can affect your ability to work and make you eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

You may be eligible to receive $3,627 each month. Fill out a Free Disability Evaluation today!

8 Eye Problems That Qualify For Disability

1. Vision Loss (Legally Blind)

The SSA considers you to be legally blind if your visual cannot be improved beyond 20/200 in your better eye or your visual field is 20 degrees or less in that eye and the condition is expected to last for at least 12 months.

2. Partial Sight

Partial sight, also known as low vision, means that you have limited visual capability. It can be caused by trauma or diseases like glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and even brain disorders.

To determine if you qualify for disability with partial eyesight, the SSA will evaluate you on your better eye. You may need to get testing done to determine your visual acuity or visual field loss. 

3. Cataracts

Cataracts are cloudy areas on the lens of the eye. While they are normally treated via surgery, some cataracts may resist improvement and make it impossible to keep working.

4. Sjögren’s Syndrome

Sjogren's syndrome is a systemic autoimmune disease that initially affects lacrimal and salivary glands, resulting in dry eye disease and/or dry mouth disease. It can also cause eyelid inflammation and corneal abrasions.

You can qualify for disability benefits with Sjogren's Syndrome if your eye dryness is severe and cannot be helped by medicine, keeping you from being able to work. 

5. Glaucoma

One of the leading causes of blindness for people over the age of 60, glaucoma refers to a group of eye disorders that damages the optic nerve and impacts vision. The damage is usually caused by abnormally high pressure in the eye.

To qualify for disability with Glaucoma, your doctor will likely need to perform visual field testing to determine if your visual field loss meets a Blue Book listing.

6. Hemianopia

Hemianopia is partial blindness or a loss of sight in half of your visual field. It is caused by damage to the optic nerve or brain due to conditions like traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, lymphoma, and multiple sclerosis. Depending on the cause, hemianopia may be temporary or permanent.

The SSA will utilize testing from your better eye to determine if you qualify for disability with Hemianopia.

7. Macular Degeneration

Macular Degeneration is an incurable eye disease that results when the central portion of the retina, known as the macula, suffers deterioration. Symptoms include a central vision disruption that makes it impossible to read, recognize faces, drive, or see objects in detail.

If macular degeneration is keeping your from working your current job, then you may be able to qualify for disability.

8. Ocular Melanoma

Ocular melanoma is an extremely rare form of cancer that affects the uveal tract, which is the pigmented tissue layer under the white of the eye. Symptoms include visual distortions like wavy lines and floating specks as well as retinal detachment. It has the potential to spread to other areas of the body, with the liver being the most commonly affected organ.

Unlike other eye problems that use the Blue Book section 2.00 - Special Sense and Speech, you will need to meet the Blue Book listing 13.29 - Malignant Melanoma to determine if you qualify for disability with Ocular Melanoma.

What is the Requirement to Get Disability for Vision Problems? 

In order to get disability for vision loss, one must have an eye condition and/or problem that significantly limits their ability to continue working. The eye conditions that qualify for disability are located in the SSA's Blue Book. The Blue Book is the list of conditions that qualify for disability

There are there three listings the SSA will likely use to determine if you qualify for disability. These are

2.02 Loss of Central Visual Acuity

  • The remaining vision in your better is 20/200 or less after correction

2.03 Contraction of the visual field in the better eye with:

  • Widest diameter subtending an able around the point of fixation at 20 degrees or less;


  • An MD of 22 decibels or greater


  • A visual field efficiency of 20% or less

2.04 Loss of visual efficiency, or visual impairment in the better eye:

  • A visual efficiency of 20% or less after best correction 


  • A visual impairment value of 1.00 or greater after best correction.

Find Out If You Qualify For Disability In Minutes

Get Help With Your Vision Loss Disability Claim

Applying for disability benefits for eye problems can be an uphill battle, as anything less than complete vision loss is not always recognized as disabling. Many claims are often denied disability. A Social Security Disability lawyer can help you prepare and present a compelling case for the benefits you need. A disability lawyer will also be able to tell you how much disability you can get.

Take our Social Security benefits calculator to see how much you could get with disability benefits. To get in touch with a disability advocate or lawyer who takes cases in your area, complete the Free Case Evaluation form today.


Additional Resources

Add new comment

Find Out If I Qualify for Benefits!