TN 2 (12-14)
Sections 216(i)(1) and 1614(a)(2) of the Social Security Act (Act) define blindness as central visual acuity of 20/200
or less in the better eye with the use of a correcting lens. We use the best-corrected
visual acuity for distance in the better eye to determine if the claimant meets this
The Act also provides that we consider an eye that has a visual field limitation such
that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than 20
degrees as having a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less.
This statutory definition of blindness is in the Listing of Impairments (listings).
A claimant has statutory blindness only if the visual disorder meets the criteria
2.02 or 2.03A for adults, or
102.02A, 102.02B, or 102.03A for children.
A claimant does not have statutory blindness if the visual disorder:
medically equals the criteria of listings 2.02, 2.03A, 102.02A, 102.02B, or 102.03A;
meets or medically equals the criteria of 2.03B, 2.03C, 2.04A, 2.04B, 102.03B, 102.03C,
102.04A, or 102.04B.
The combination of the loss of visual acuity in one eye and contraction of the visual
field in the other eye may meet the statutory definition of blindness:
If a claimant’s best-corrected visual acuity is 20/200 or less in one eye, and the
widest diameter of the visual field in the other eye subtends an angle around the
point of fixation no greater than 20 degrees, the visual disorder meets the statutory
definition of blindness and meets a listing.
In this situation, cite the listings appropriate for the limitation in the better
eye, that is, listings 2.02 or 2.03A for adults, or listings 102.02A, 102.02B, or
102.03A for children.
NOTE: If you cannot determine which eye is the better eye, cite listing 2.02 for adults
or listings 102.02A or 102.02B for children.
If a visual disorder does not meet the listings for statutory blindness, consider
if the disorder:
equals the blindness listings (see DI 26001.001B in this section), or
meets or medically equals other listings.
If the visual disorder does not meet or medically equal a listing, consider the effects
of the visual disorder on the claimant’s ability to function, unless the determination
is for statutory blindness only.
If the determination is for statutory blindness only, and the visual disorder does
not meet the listings for statutory blindness, the disability determination services
will deny the claim. See Jurisdiction of Blindness Cases in DI 26001.015.
Social Security Act, Sections 216(i) and 1614(a)(2)
DI 24505.015B Medical equivalence
DI 26001.015 Jurisdiction of Blindness Cases
DI 34001.012A and DI 34005.102A How do we evaluate visual disorders?
DI 34001.012A.2. and DI 34005.102A.2. How do we define statutory blindness?