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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

mixed signals on what exactly is considered visual impairment

I was born blind in one eye. I have been labeled as legally blind in that eye. I have been told I have Amblyopia along with other things that make me blind. The amblyopia I was told was due to the lack of vision so my muscles aren't working as well as they should in preventing my eye from moving around on its own. My bad eye can make out colours and some movement. If an item is close enough I can pretty much make out what it is but it pretty much has to be in front of my face. Due to the blindness I lack depth perception and my hand eye coordination isn't great. It is ok because I've been learning to adjust to certain aspects but it still isn't great. I have also been told after going to multiple doctors and specialists that it is not correctable and unless they can someday perform retinal transplants I will remain blind in that eye.

My other eye is perfect vision as long as I am not tired and it isn't strained from overuse. I've always been curious so I've done research on it multiple times.

My problem is I can't play sports and obtain certain careers due to being blind in that eye. Multiple things have been denied to me due to that blindness. Yet everywhere I've looked says my good eye makes me not eligible for scholarships or any aid. So what exactly is the truth and

I am 20 and getting ready to leave college in another year and a half. This is something that I want to figure out before I truly go off to live on my own.

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Re: mixed signals on what exactly is considered visual impairment

I am in somewhat of the same boat. My name is Gailynn, I am currently a junior in high school. I was born blind in my left eye, I've been to many specialists and no one knows what has caused it. All I know about it is that my optic nerve never reached and/or never connected to the back of my brain. In my right eye, my vision has increasingly woresened since I was 12. In that eye I have 20/100 vision and astigmatism. I've been looking for scholarships and I'm not exactly sure where to look because I don't know exactly what category to look under. Am I legally blind or visually impaired? Are there any scholarships?

Re: mixed signals on what exactly is considered visual impairment

Legal blindness is not a medical term, it is usually a legal term in regards to what kind of concessions/benefits you get. It also varies depending on where you are.

In Canada, legal blindness is "20/200 or worse, in the better eye, after correction". So even if one eye was completely blind, if you had 20/20 vision in the other eye, then you wouldn't be legally blind.

You mentioned you couldn't do sports or certain careers due to the vision loss in one eye. In all likelihood, that is related to the loss of depth perception. You can still be denied the job is depth perception is critical for the job and is an important safety concern (say, a crane operator).

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