What is Legal Blindness?

Published on
June 16, 2022

One million Americans were estimated to be legally blind.

An individual who cannot see 20/200 or better is considered legally blind. Even though it is just a legal definition, it means that a lot of people can have vision loss and see more than what people believe they should be able to see or they can have vision loss and see less than what people believe they should see. 

For government services as well as other legal measures like driving, we have to have a notation of measurements. This is why the term legal blindness is used. 20/200 is a standard, but there are other factors involved, including visual field, since in some circumstances you can see 20/20, but your visual field prevents you from seeing clearly. All of those things are important when it comes to vision. Nevertheless, the term legal blindness is just a term to delineate legality in vision.

The U.S. government’s definition is as follows: 

  • If you cannot reach better than 20/200 with corrective measures in the best eye
  • If you have 20 degrees or less of your field of vision

What conditions cause legal blindness?

Causes of blindness include:

  • People who are born blind may have visual deficiencies that meet this criteria.
  • Numerous eye diseases and disorders can affect the optic nerve, including glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, stargardt disease, retinitis pigmentosa, ocular albinism, age-related macular degeneration, and other ocular disorders.
  • Trauma can cause vision deficits which fall under this legal standard.

Schedule an Appointment

Legal blindness is not something you can diagnose yourself. Make an appointment with our low vision optometrist by calling (562) 925-6591 to assess visual acuity and field of vision, both of which are vital for an effective evaluation. If a person meets the legal criteria for blindness, it is relatively easy to determine. If you have been diagnosed with legal blindness or are experiencing vision loss that impacts your daily function, speak with our low vision optometrist about how to maximize your vision and live a normal life. Through appropriate interventions, people with permanent vision loss can maintain a fulfilling, independent and enjoyable life. Call us at (562) 925-6591 to schedule a low vision evaluation. 


I haven't actually used the optometrist side, so my review is limited to the vision therapy offered.  This office was recommended by my occupational therapist for the treatment of my double vision following a stroke.

Claire A.

Love this location. I had a brain injury accident from day one one. All the team make you feel you still important and hope in the horizon after when the medical system fell you miserably. Dr. Ikeda very professional and very understanding about your issue. Two tombs up.

Jim K.

My husband and I were immediately impressed with Dr Ikeda. I was hit by a car while cycling which caused broken bones and three brain injuries. The brain injuries caused double vision. Dr. Ikeda examined my eyes and got me started on vision therapy with his occupational therapist who specializes in vision therapy.  She (Chris) is absolutely great.  I am impressed with the array of tools used to help recover my binocular vision.  I am doing things I never thought were possible (balance boards etc).  Chris pushes me and keeps me motivated. I really enjoy my sessions with her.  The office staff is always friendly and they have a wonderful appointment reminder tool that makes it easy to keep my calendar up to date. I am happy the rehab center at Little Co. of Mary recommended them!!

Teresa S.

The Vision Therapy is handled in a separate office through a different door from the shared waiting room. Chris, the vision therapist, has a wide and varied assortment of tools, equipment and resources to best evaluate and treat most vision issues. After just a few visits, my double vision became easier to control, using exercises developed during the therapy process. It was time well-spent.

Joe M.

I have been coming here since I can remember. I love it here. The staff is so amazing and nice. They explain everything they gonna do and never make you feel rushed. Dr. Ikeda has always been my doctor and I would never want another one. He is the doctor for my whole family and is always asking how everyone is doing. I am also so crazy about picking out my frames and have to try so many and each person who helps me take the time and lets me try them all on. I would never want to go anywhere else! I definitely would recommend this office to anyone looking for a great eye doctor.

Kayla W.

This is not for the eye exam but for the frames selection portion. I brought my prescription from Kaiser here with my VSP insurance. The reception staff was very polite and professional.  Manny helped me to pick out frames and explain my coverage.  Very helpful and patient not like the individual at the other place I rated here on Yelp.  I was running late and he still helped me and was not bothered at all.  I am so glad I came here ..........very pleased.

Very professional staff and pleasant.

Daniel G.
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