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Applying for Social Security Disability With Glaucoma

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease that results in damage to the optic nerve, and eventually causes permanent blindness. An estimated 3 million Americans currently have glaucoma, and around half of them aren’t aware of it - as up to 40% of vision can be lost before symptoms are present.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness in the U.S., and the overall leading cause worldwide. African Americans, Latinos, diabetics, and those who are middle-aged or elderly have a greater chance of experiencing glaucoma.

How to Qualify for Social Security Benefits with Glaucoma

Although there is no cure for glaucoma, getting early treatment can significantly slow down its progression. In some cases, it’s possible to get approved for Social Security disability benefits if you have glaucoma.

To qualify for disability for having glaucoma, you’ll need to meet certain criteria established by the Social Security Administration (SSA). But first, in order to be eligible for Social Security disability for any reason, you’ll need to be currently not working, with the expectation of being off work for at least a yea

The easiest way to get approved for Social Security due to glaucoma is to qualify under the SSA’s “Listing of Impairments.” These listings indicate a number of conditions for which the SSA has set forth specific standards that, if met, make the applicant eligible for benefits.

If you have glaucoma, you could be entitled to disability benefits under one (or more) of three separate listings. If your visual acuity (clearness and clarity) in your better eye is less than 20/200, you could meet listing 2.02.

You could also be approved based on listing 2.04, which requires that your visual efficiency (a combination of visual acuity and loss of peripheral vision) in your better eye is 20% or less, after correction (such as glasses). Listing 2.04 is based on loss of peripheral vision.

However, if your glaucoma doesn’t quite fall under one of these listings, you could still be eligible for Social Security disability. In order to be granted benefits, you’ll need to prove to the SSA that there is no job that you would be able to perform on a full-time basis (proving that you can’t do your previous work isn’t sufficient.)

Applying for Social Security Disability With Glaucoma

Starting Your Application

To do this, it’s essential that you have records documenting consistent medical treatment, and that they not only include information such as your diagnosis and treatments, but also notes regarding how your glaucoma inhibits your ability to perform basic tasks.

To qualify under an impairment listing, your file could be required to contain specific test results. While the SSA will also consider your input as to what you can do, medical records are by far the most important piece of the puzzle.

After reviewing the evidence in your file, the SSA will establish what your limitations are – such as if you can’t operate machinery, read, or work with small objects. They will also consider other things, including your age, education level, and work history.

Based on all of these factors, they will determine whether or not there is any type of work that you can do. If they find that there is, your application for Social Security disability will be denied.

Talk to a Social Security Lawyer

If you have glaucoma and you are thinking about applying for Social Security benefits, then you may want to seek the counsel of a Social Security lawyer.

They will be able to get all of your medical records and information in order, which helps give you the best chance of winning your case.

Additional Resources


I'm 55 blind in right eye glaucoma been trying to get ssi for 3yrs now it's has gotten worse over the years

I am 64 and I am receiving social security insurance benefits for mobility impairment, now my vision I have been to developing slight glucoma I was told last year, can I get additional benefit for my eyes.

Hi Angela,
I'm sorry to hear about that! However, the SSA may not offer additional benefits for another condition you may have, they offer benefits based off of the condition affecting your ability to work.

I'm 55 years of age I'm been receiving SSDI since 1993 due to depression and other related mental illnesses. I was diagnosed with glaucoma in 2000. I been seen by a specialist for 19 years. I'm wondering if I can get additional benefits for my eyes.

My husband is 39 years old and has severe glaucoma in both eyes. One is working only 5% and the other one 15%.

He had surgery (ahmed tube shunt) for the one with 15%.

Is there any possibility for him to get social security?

My 8yr old daughter has Axenfeld Reiger syndrome, glaucoma, and a heart defect. Is it possible for her to qualify for any type of assistance?