Is 20/80 Vision Bad?

According to the Social Security Administration, visual acuity of 20/80 is insufficient for a patient to be legally blind. Emory Eye Center indicates that patients with 20/80 vision may require eyeglasses or contact lenses to achieve the visual acuity required for basic tasks such as writing a check or reading the newspaper.

The Social Security Act defines statutory blindness as vision of 20/200 or less with corrective lenses. Since there are no lines between 20/100 and 20/200 on the Snellen acuity chart, also known as the eye chart with the giant “E” at the top, Social Security classifies as legally blind anyone unable to distinguish any letters on the 20/100 line.

Patients with 20/80 vision can see objects from 20 feet away that others with normal or 20/20 vision can see from 80 feet away. The Snellen acuity chart evaluates a patient’s visual acuity, but does not indicate why he has trouble seeing. According to Ophthalmic Technician, doctors collaborate with the patient to make this finding and make the needed repairs.

All but three states, according to the American Medical Society, require drivers to have corrected vision of at least 20/40 in the better eye. The licences of drivers who require corrective glasses to achieve these standards are restricted. Commercial drivers are subject to harsher federal regulations than non-commercial drivers.


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