Is Keratoconus a Disability?

This article discusses whether keratoconus is considered a legal disability.

Is Keratoconus a Disability? in Manhattan

An Ocular Disorder: But is it a Disability?

Keratoconus is an eye disorder that gradually affects the dome-shaped outer layer of the eye known as the cornea, causing impaired vision. Normal-shaped eyes are spherical. Keratoconus causes thinning and bulging of the cornea, resulting in a cone-like shape. As a result of this alteration, light passing through the cornea doesn’t focus properly on the retina, leading to blurred vision and sensitivity to light and glare. Extreme fluctuations and changes in eyesight should always be reported to an optometrist.

Keratoconus by itself does not necessarily qualify as a disability. With the available treatments today (options range from scleral contact lenses to various surgical procedures) many people maintain levels of vision which don't meet this criterion. 

While medical advancements provide most people with improved eyesight, severe visual loss may qualify as a disability. Legal blindness is 20/200 vision or less. People with advanced keratoconus may fall within this range of deficiency at later stages of this disorder. In such circumstances, keratoconus would qualify as a disability.

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Treatment Options 

There are many effective medical interventions today to improve visual deficits of people with keratoconus. These include:

  •  Special prescription glasses and contact lenses
  •  Surgical interventions on the cornea such as a cross-linking procedure and corneal transplants to improve vision and slow the progression.

The definition of what constitutes a medical disability varies regionally, and what may be defined as such in one country may not meet the legal criteria in another.

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Summary

Keratoconus is an ocular disease that results in corneal alteration and impaired eyesight. Symptoms include sensitivity to glare and light, and blurred vision. Speak with your optometrist to find out if your visual deficits qualify as a disability, and whether the available corrective measures can help you attain better vision.

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