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Is Glaucoma a Disability?



It would depend on the extent of the glaucoma and under what context disability is used. When glaucoma is in the advanced stage and results in permanent vision loss, then glaucoma is considered a disability.

What is a Disability?

According to the World Health Organization, disability refers to the impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions in various life situations . Meanwhile, the United States Social Security Administration defines disability as a total disability, which is terminal or has lasted for at least one year. It also means that you are unable to do your previous work or be reassigned to do any other work because of your condition.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a condition that is characterized by damage in the nerve fibers of the retina and optic nerves, resulting from high levels of intraocular pressure.

Open-angle or chronic glaucoma generally does not present any symptoms unless it is already in the advanced stage, and here vision loss occurs . Some individuals however may gradually develop tunnel vision or the loss of peripheral or side vision . Angle-closure or acute glaucoma meanwhile is characterized by a sudden and severe pain in one eye; cloudy vision; the reddening of the affected eye and seeing multi-colored halos around lights. Congenital glaucoma is glaucoma that develops during the infancy of an individual and is characterized by cloudiness and enlargement of the eye or eyes. Secondary glaucoma is glaucoma that develops as a result of another disease.

Glaucoma as a Disability

Individuals with open-angle or chronic glaucoma can be treated with eye drops and pills to reduce the pressure on the ocular nerves. Laser treatments have also proven to be effective in individuals afflicted with chronic glaucoma and with congenital glaucoma as well. Angle-closure or acute glaucoma on the other hand is considered a medical emergency and can result to total blindness if it is not treated immediately. Secondary glaucoma using the same methods but the primary disease must be treated first.



“Glaucoma Acute Angle Closure.” MD Guidelines. Web. 21 Dec. 2011.

“WHO | Disabilities.” World Health Organization. Web. 21 Dec. 2011.

“Benefits Planner: Your Future Benefits.” The United States Social Security Administration. Web. 21 Dec. 2011.

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