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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

20/50 Vision and Guide Dog

About five years ago, I posted a question about using a long cane with 20/50 vision. I have been a long cane user since 2008 but since then, have lost some of my vision. While the loss wasn't in my visual acuity, I have lost some of my visual field and my eye doctor says I have 10 degrees of usable vision in my right eye (with 20/70 acuity in that eye) and a visual field loss in the left that hasn't been stable enough to pinpoint how much of a visual field I have in that eye.

My cane has given me so much independence that I completed my masters degree and am now working full-time and living on my own. My O&M skills are great but I'm wondering if a guide dog could add to my independence, my confidence in new situations, and my confidence when traveling in my new city.

I don't completely meet the definition of legal blindness, which I notice is a criteria for all guide dog schools in the US but I was thinking of going out on a limb and contacting a school in hopes that they would agree that a guide dog would truly help me, especially because I don't always trust my vision. Any advice is welcome and please email me at if you have questions for me or would be willing to have a thorough discussion.

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Re: 20/50 Vision and Guide Dog

I am able to qualify for a guide dog unfortunately now as my vision has deteriorated but I always say trust your gut contact the schools anyway see if they can talk to your doctors and find a solution that would work best for you.

Re: 20/50 Vision and Guide Dog

you like me fall into the gray area. In my state you ahve to have 20/60 vision to qualify or a visual field of less than 120degrees. Which sucks...I had to ask my counselor thorugh state services(even though I don't qualify yet I got my foot in the door) to help me find a place that will help with O & M services out of pocket. I took have looked into guide dogs, do you have any other health issues or mental health issues that might help you get a dog. I know that with my Autism that is a possibility to get one for both but it is expensive endeavor.

Re: 20/50 Vision and Guide Dog

20/50 doesn't meet the criteria for legal blindness, but how is your peripheral fields? You may be able to qualify through that. Talk to the schools about it.

It's good you have great O&M skills, since you need good skills to get a guide dog.

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