Legally Blind

Being legally blind is not a handicap but a new way to look at life. Here are ways to overcome and live a full life.

Coping with being legally blind facing problems on a daily basis a topic I felt seldom addressed, as there are many topics that written which explain the causes of blindness. Diabetics is one of the most common causes of blindness but other illness as well as birth defects are a source of being blind. I use the term blind loosely because being blind not seeing any thing is completely different from being legally blind.

What is legal blindness?

The American Optometric Association states that “a person with 20/20 vision can clearly identify a row 9mm letters from 20 feet. A legally blind person with vision 20/200 has to be as close as 20 feet to identify objects that people with normal vision can spot from 200 feet. So a legally blind person needs a distance of two feet to spot the letters on a standard eye chart that is 20 feet away.”

Problems a legally blind person faces in everyday life

Legally blind people use a white cane or a guide dog to help them with life’s tasks especially traveling. Legally blind person faces harm even with a limited amount of vision. A person who has limited vision or distorted vision often makes errors that could cause a severe accident. Trying to cross a street can become hazardous at best or even fatal. Crossing a street without the ability to tell the distance of vehicle may cause you to step into traffic. Sometimes a legally blind person is unable to discern the way a curb is structured or a break in the sidewalk, which results in falling.

The problem of cooking, cleaning, doing laundry or even personal care becomes a problem for anyone with only partial vision. The government has set up schools that teach the legally blind as well as those who are completely blind how to function in everyday life. There are thirteen guide dog schools in the United States. Training for the legally blind with a guide dog helps secure a safer life style.

A legally blind person overcomes the problems encountered by being blind with hard work and faith.

Family, friends, and others play an important role in everyday life

One of the hardest parts of being legally blind is that of the family, friends, and others accepting your limitations and abilities. That is the main reason that I am writing this article is to address the situations that legally blind people encounter. The concept that someone has partial vision for some reason is misleading to others and brings doubt. The reason being when others who know you see you do certain functions well they begin to think that you do not have a vision problem. Most people seem to think that when you say you are legally blind immediately people begin to think that means completely and very blind.

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  1. I really enjoyed your article and how brave you must be. We all need to be able to press on with our life not thinking of the disabilities we may have. I believe in a sense we all have something to hold us back if we let it. That we should not let it. Your article was terrific keep up the good work.

  2. Hello writershirley, your article was great. I work with visually impaired teens. I read this article to my class! I am sure it inspired us all! Keep writing, Rhonda

  3. The article about Jewish Dietary Laws was excellent! I am a Instructor at Hope College, and this really fits into our religious studies program. I hope for more articles just like this one. Thank you, Maria Tapia

  4. Many do not understand that there is different degrees of blindness, thankyou for writing such an imformative article

  5. Beautifully written and well informative. I atually have friends that are blind, blind. And have read a few ariles on this subject and this is one of the top ones.
    And I can’t agree more with this: A unique experience is to find ourselves and then help others to do the same.
    Amen to that.

  6. Hello Writer Shirley,
    Your article on being legally blind has been a great help to me. My mother is legally blind and now I understand more about her will and how she is able to manage all these years. thank you write more, we need more informative and inspirational articles like this.
    Thank you,
    Mr. M Lopez

  7. Hello this is a good article, please write more. Do you write about stress or anxiety?
    Thank you,

  8. hello i like this article and hope to read more, It helps me to under people with disabilities. keep up the writing. We need more information on different disabilities. Good work to writer Shirley

  9. hello i like this article and hope to read more, It helps me to under people with disabilities. keep up the writing. We need more information on different disabilities. Good work to writer Shirley

  10. Hi great article, do you do anything in Braille for the blind? I’d be interested to know. Thanks

  11. Hello I work as a counselor for the Commission for the blind and this article is very well written. I am having it brailled for some of my clients! Write more, we need to know and to share with others. Thanks

  12. Is there any goverment programs that can help people that are legally blind? I find it really hard sometimes and my vision is gettting worse.

  13. You fail to mention Field of Vision in your explaination of what is legally blind.
    According to the Social Security administration …… a field of vision less than 20° in either eye is considered legally blind. ( 180° being normal )

  14. Thank you i am doing a report and this helped so much!!!

  15. 26 years ago I was told by my eye doctor that I was legally blind. It was something I became ashamed of. I was 17 years old at the time, and people would make fun of me. My peers,and some family members. I failed most of my classes because I was embarrased to let the teacher know that I could’nt see the chalk board. I dropped out of school, but later went back. Eventually I graduated a year after my class. I never did anything with my diploma though. Today I wear hard contact lenses. I see ok. now. I drive, but not at night. There are times I’m afraid to drive somewhere new, for fear of getting lost. I don’t see well enough to read the street signs before I pass them up. I usually will memorize landmarks or certain shapes and colors to know where I’m at. I do pretty good. In my 14 years of driving I got only one speeding ticket, and got into one minor accident. Thank God! I did’nt go to college or get any kind of training because I thought it would be to difficult to do anything that I truley wanted to do. I wanted to be a photogragher, and work in a dark room, but someone once told me “you can’t even see, how you gonna do that?” I was discouraged and just gave up dreaming. Are there any programs out there for someone like me?

  16. Hello this article helped me teaching children in my small rural school who have vision problems. I now try hard to find places that will assist me in getting things for these children. Thank you and please do an article about where help and tools can be found. Trixie Teaches in Tune

  17. Your article is excellent. My husband is also legally blind, still plays golf most every day, helps with local charity golf tournaments, enjoys playing with the grandchildren, loves to dance, tells lots of jokes, has many friends, and as he says “can do everything but read and drive”. He is an inspiration to all of us as he continues to live life full of zest and fun! He also often says, “there are worse things”, and of course he is right.

  18. I did finally make a squidoo lens about my husband playing golf even though he is legally blind. He is an inspiration to all of us.
    Stop by for a visit. you will enjoy his story!

  19. Our adopted son is legally blind. And he is afraid to ride a bike even with training wheels. We found a tryke but is 350.00. Is there founds that would help with this. He is nine who is downs symdrom. He loves his tryke now but is getting ready to fall apart. We made a bike path for him, he loves it. Thanks

  20. We feel that this is an excellent article and hope that others will know that life is worth living. Many people who are blinded by different methods need to know your story. We heard about other things you have over come and pray that eventually your whole story will be read. God Bless you ‘Obama

  21. This is one of the first articles I have written and I wish to thank all of you fo rreading it and making your comments. It has helped me to grow greatly in the writing field and I hope that this article will continue to help others. writershirley

  22. As a blind man who can partially see but not enough to travel alone, I appreciate this information many people do not understand my situation and think I am just a put on which is not true. It is scary out in a world who people think only the “totalblind” need help. thanks for the article, John

  23. I just read your article, and I can relate to everything that you said. I myself am legally blind, my vision is 20/400, and the doctors say that it will worsen in time. I have been legally blind since I was born, and I have no idea what it is like to see 20/20. When I was little I used to cry a lot because kids made fun of me for using a cane, and reading out of large print books. I also knew that I would never be able to drive and it scared me. As I got a little older I realized that I was lucky to not have been born completely blind, and I knew I needed to get over it. As years went on I learned to make fun of my mistakes that I made in public due to my poor vision. I learned to have a sense of humor and make the most of what I could see. I am now 21 years old and am going to school to be a court reporter. I figured theres not too much I can see, but my hearing is unlike anyones I know. So I have decided to utilize this quality into my career. I wanted to be a detective, but thats unlikely to happen, so a court reporter will do just fine for me…I just want to say that you are right, it doesnt help to feel sorry for yourself. The only way that a person can feel good about themselves is to make things happen for themselves. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  24. Hello I am also legally blind, and have had many of the same experiences, i isnot that I mind how people do no understand but the attitude of some people I hope will change when they see all the comments and remarks made along with the article.

  25. I am a legally blind teen.
    It has been one of the hardest things in life to overcome.
    School is tough, sometimes even the people are tough.
    I enjoyed your article, you understand what you are talking about! When I tell some of my friends at school that I am legally blind, they laugh at me and ask me why I dont carry a stick or have a guid dog, Finally someone that knows you can be blind and still have vision.
    I do lead a normal life, but it is tough. Thanks for your article!

  26. I enjoyed your article. My husband has been legally blind for the past 20 years. Actually he is legally blind and plays golf. He does not play as well as when he was a club professional, but he does still enjoy the game and his wide array of friends.

  27. Thank you so much for writing this comforting article. I became legally blind (20/400 both eyes) two years ago at age 34 after having had perfect vision all my life. It is quite an adjustment – losing my job in law enforcement, re-training my brain to see with my new vision, endlessly trying to explain to people how I can still perform certain tasks while legally blind, but not able to do other things, like read and drive. It really just sucks, that’s the best way to describe it.
    Anyway, thanks for the comfort and information. I’m a stay at home dad of 3 kids all under the age of 5, it has it’s challenges and huge rewards.

    Thanks again.

  28. hi my name is olivia and i think im blind in 1 eye

  29. This article certainly reinforces all of the STEREOTYPES about being legally blind.

    How about emphasizing that there are MANY degrees of legal blindness, ranging from seeing nothing at all, to seeing a great many things.

    I have been legally blind since birth. I have severe light sensitivity as well. Still, I have never needed a cane or a dog or an escort. I have never fallen down a manhole either. I live a pretty normal life. The biggest difference between me and people who have normal eyesight, is that I have trouble recognizing a face that\’s over 15 feet away, or reading the words off a television or t-shirt that\’s more than about 8-10 feet away.

    That\’s it.

    I actually resent the use of the word \”blind\” when referring to those who have varying degrees of vision. Fact is, there\’s a BIG difference between not being able to see ANYTHING vs. having vision at all—whether it\’s 20/20 or 20/200.

    I am amazed at what poor representation there is in the \”blind\” community of the reality I just described.

    And by the way, just a footnote: I have known legally blind drivers who use bipotic scopes while driving and are far more careful and attentive to the road than all the \”great vision\” drivers who are texting and talking on cell phones and reading newspapers while driving into oncoming lanes.

  30. Thanks for writing this artical. I am a very strong willed person but you have given me the boost I needd right now. I am disabled and use a wheel chair, deaf in my left ear and very low hearing in the right one.

    I thought I was coping well until yesterday when I was informed I am legally blind.

    Reading your article has done wonders for me as the last thing I want to do is feel sorry for myself. You are a worth while person no matter what your body endures. Many thanks

  31. I really enjoyed your article. I hope you check my bioptic blog out at

  32. Thanks for this article. I wish more people were educated in what it means to be legally blind.
    My husband has been legally blind all his life. Up to the age of 7 he had no sight at all.
    He has led an amazingly frustrating life, not even finishing high school because of uncaring
    teachers not willing to help him. He is a strong and incredibly intelligent individual.
    His passion is law enforcement since he was a boy and he fought hard to become a volunteer officer
    here in NY. After a necessary medical leave to remove a tumor in his brain, he returned with a doctors note saying that his sight was fine for him to resume patrol. After 11 years they dismissed him. The one thing he looked forward to these SOB’s took from him. No one will hire him because they consider him a liability, but yet when they have an employee that is a drunk or on drugs they offer them rehab! People need to be more educated and stop being so ignorant about what legally blind people’s abilities are.

  33. I thank you very much for the experience that you gave. though I am no legally blind, but my husband who is a lifetime Waterman is. He is about to give up because his peripheral vision hinders him to drive and maybe not be able to crab without assistance on his boat. He is also beginning to go into a depress state. I will contact the State Rehabilitation Program in my state. thanks for assisting me in where to go.

    Loving Wife

  34. I am legally blind from an eye disease. Sometimes life bites but thats just the way it is. I had to quit my job because my vision is so poor but I have learned my way around a lot of things.

  35. hola. i <3 pie

  36. “new way to LOOK at life….” HA

    great stuff though

  37. I have been legally blind all my life. I am 51 and return to college and I am to classes away from a degree in Sociology. Prior to this I worked in Communications all over the world. But, kept my vision problems to myself and was able to be successful.
    I realized that eventually I would have to except my condition. My vision is 20/400.
    Now that I have excepted the disability my strss level has been reduced greatly.
    I enjoying playing golf and on many occasions have had guilt issues about not being able to find my golf ball in a reasonable time to keep play moving at an proper pase. It irratates some of the other golfers. This is why I am on the site, trying to learn how to overcome my anxiety in relation to this. Some people are not concern or don’t care about the situations that face someone who is legally blind. So as individual we must endure internally and this can be very stressful. Caring about the way you effect others, but also understanding and foregiving yourself , because it is not your fault.

    James, doing a little venting

  38. I was born a twin of 24 weeks early with 8 weeks gestation. Because of this, I was born blind. I had 2 Lasik surgeries to restore my sight, as well as a heart surgery and multiple other surgeries. I seemed to get the short end of the stick, while my twin sister still wears contact lenses, but her vision is 20/20. I see 20/80 corrected (with contact lenses) and my sight without corrected lenses is unknown. I am the only leagally blind kid at my high school, and the other kid is completely blind. its hard sometimes because the teacher passes me my blown up paper and kids ask why its bigger. simply tell them “Its bigger so I can see it better”. i take my SAT tests down in the Counselor’s Office out of a booklet instead of on the computer like the other kids. My friends sometimes give me a hard time about being visually impaired, but what are friends for? My dream is to become a CEO. This is my dad’s profession, so I might get into the business too. I won’t let my visual impairment stop me. Hopefully by then, there will be technology to restore my sight. Other than that, I am a regular teen who enjoys snowmobiling, skateboarding and video games.

  39. John,

    Thanks for your comments. We have recently found out that our 3 month old daughter will only have vision between 20/100 to 20/200. It is good to hear that she can lead a normal life and do the things that other do. I am a teacher, so I know the resources available to her for classroom use and reading at home. Please post any further advice you may have.

    Thanks – KA

  40. My Name is Ashley , I was diagnosed as legally blind when I was 2 yrs old I am 21 now. I dnt walk with a dog or stick but I have broken my toes alot anyway I would like to thank you for posting your story it made me feel like I wasnt alone wih this problem. I just got turned down for a Nurse aid job because my eyes and it made me very upset. I am now going through voc rehab myself to get help with going to shool for medical billing and coding. Thanks to your story Igot hope that my career path will go as i want it if I believe it will . Thank you

  41. the article is a nice has helped me in my assignments.tnks.more grees to your elbow.

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