How Disabling Is My Vision Loss?

If your doctor has diagnosed a life altering medical condition like vision loss and you are unable to continue working you may be considering filing a claim for a social security disability benefit to cover your financial loss because you are unable to work.

The federal body which makes decisions about disability benefit claims (the SSA) treats each application on a case by case basis. This means that two people may apply with the same vision loss diagnosis but the results of their applications could turn out to be different.

Your work history is sometimes the deciding factor because if your job required a high degree of physical fitness and alertness with vision loss you are more likely to be approved for a disability benefit than a worker for who attention to detail isn’t so important.

The SSA's Blue Book

The SSA uses its Blue Book lists to determine whether you are eligible for disability benefits due to vision loss. To show that your vision loss is disabling which means you are entitled to disability benefits, you are expected to meet the Blue Book's listing corresponding with your diagnosis of vision loss.

Vision loss often qualifies for assistance, as long as you have the evidence to prove your vision loss or blindness prevents you from working and earning an income for at least 12 months.

The Blue Book listings that apply to vision loss are:

  • Listing 2.02 – Loss of Central Visual Acuity  which covers loss in your central field of vision and requires that you see no better than 20/200 in your better eye.
  • Listing 2.03 – Contraction of the Visual Field in the Better Eye so if you have a shrinking field of vision, you may qualify using this listing. You are required to provide documentation of specific tests that record what you are able to see from a fixed point
  • Listing 2.04 – Loss of Visual Efficiency or Visual Impairment covers visual issues that cause unfocused vision or blurred vision or total blindness


Your Claim By Condition

Here is some more information about some other disabling common conditions:

  • blood clot,
  • brain tumor,
  • breast cancer,
  • cancer,
  • cirrhosis of the liver,
  • colon cancer,
  • Crohn's disease,
  • degenerative disc disease,
  • heart transplant,
  • herniated disc,
  • hip replacement,
  • kidney dialysis
  • kidney disease,
  • liver disease,
  • liver transplant,
  • lower extremity amputation,
  • lumbar spinal stenosis,
  • lung cancer,
  • osteoarthritis,
  • osteoporosis,
  • pancreatic cancer,
  • paralysis,
  • paraplegia,
  • prostate cancer,
  • quadriplegia,
  • rheumatoid arthritis,
  • stroke,
  • testicular cancer,
  • upper extremity amputation.

If you believe your vision loss prevents you from working for at least 12 months you should contact a social security disability attorney or advocate who can help to assess your claim based on your medical evidence, work history, and any other factors that may help you win a blind disability benefits claim.

Additional Resources


Find Out If I Qualify for Benefits!