There are many different eye diseases, vision problems, and even other health issues that can result in vision impairment and blindness and lead to the inability to function normally.
Many people with vision impairments and blindness end up not being able to go to work. In fact, there is a study that was funded by the National Institutes of Health and Research to Prevent Blindness that shows there is a link between unemployment and vision loss.
Vision Impairments and Employment
The study determined that people who suffer from vision loss are more likely to be unemployed than people without vision loss. The study participants were placed into categories according to how good or bad their vision was. The categories consisted of people with normal vision, people who have visual impairments, and people who have an uncorrected refractive error.
In addition, the participants’ employment statuses were taken into account. The participants who worked were categorized as either working full-time or part-time, and those who did not work were categorized as unemployed if they were laid off or seeking work and considered not in the labor force if they were not laid off and weren’t seeking work.
The results showed that employment rates were indeed higher for both men and women who had normal vision – 76.2 percent of men and 62.9 percent of women with normal vision were employed; 66.5 percent of men and 56 percent of women with uncorrected refractive errors were employed; and 58.7 percent of men and 24.5 percent of women with visual impairments were employed.
The researchers of the study reported that people with visual impairments are less likely to work, but they are not more likely to be unemployed. This means that it’s more likely that people with visual impairments never enter the work force to begin with or they drop out of the workforce after a period of time. The results go on to show that the probability of people with visual impairments to not work was higher for women, people below the age of 55, and people with diabetes.
Surviving Life When You’re Unable to Work
For visually impaired people, being able to live independently and function on a regular level every day can be a challenge emotionally, physically, and financially. While there are some technological devices that can assist the visually impaired and enable them to live a more independent life, many visually impaired people are forced to seek help from the Social Security Administration.
The visually impaired and the blind who are unable to work are able to receive Social Security Disability benefits. There are two different benefit programs that are offered to the visually impaired and those who do not qualify for one are generally able to qualify for the other, and some people are even able to qualify for both programs.
The first program is called Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI and this is based on the work history of the individual. In order to qualify for this program, the individual had to have earned a certain amount of what are referred to as work credits. The SSA will then figure up the amount of benefits the individual is eligible to receive based on those work credits.
The other program is called Social Security Income or SSI. This program is not based on work credits, but there are particular financial requirements that the individual must meet in order to qualify for this program. This program is a great option for those who do not have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI.
However, if you or someone you know is visually impaired and does not qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, it may be possible for them to work somewhere that will accommodate their disability. Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, there are employment options for disabled people that will allow them to be self-sufficient and live as independently as possible.
For more information on Social Security benefits and the Americans with Disabilities Act, visit socialsecurity.gov.
Improving and Preventing Vision Problems
Unfortunately, there are many forms of visual impairments that cannot be improved or reversed. However, there are many that can be improved and even prevented altogether by taking steps that will boost your eye health and vision and even ward off certain vision problems.
Whether or not you know that you could suffer from visual impairments in the future, you should do everything you can to ensure your eyes will stay as healthy as possible for as long as possible. There are many ways you can do this:
- Eat eye healthy foods – Fruit, vegetables, lean meats, and fish are not only good foods to eat for your overall health, but they are also excellent for strengthening your eyesight. These foods contain vitamins and nutrients that are extremely beneficial for the health of your eyes and for reducing the risk for age-related eye diseases such as macular degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma.
- Take vitamin supplements – There are an abundance of vitamins and nutrients that are beneficial to your eye health and while you can find most of these properties in the foods you eat, it’s also a good idea to take a vitamin supplement so that you can ensure you are getting the recommended amount of each of those vitamins and nutrients on a daily basis.
- Get regular eye exams – This is an important step to take. Having your eyes examined on a regular basis – every two years in most cases – is essential for making sure that there are no issues with your eyes or your vision, and if there are issues, they can be detected early on so they can be treated right away before any major damage or other issues arise.