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Blindness and the Family

  • By: M. Cay Holbrook
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Legal blindness is defined as a visual acuity of 20/200 in the better eye after correction and/or a visual field of no greater than 20 degrees. This level of visual impairment is required to access certain benefits and resources, but from a functional standpoint, a visual impairment can be defined using different acuity levels. For example, most state requirements for obtaining an unrestricted driver's license set the visual acuity cutoff as 20/40 or 20/50.

The term blind is routinely used to refer to individuals who meet the definition of legal blindness; however, most people who are blind have some level of usable vision. Individuals who have decreased sight but are still able to use vision to help accomplish daily tasks are considered to have low vision.

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