How can you be legally blind? Does that mean someone can be illegally blind? You might be thinking, "The terms the government uses don't make sense! They're wasting our tax dollars!"
But there is actually a purpose for the term. The basics of the definition "legally blind" is someone with severe vision loss, and it allows the government to grant individuals as legally blind. This is to help speed up the process of giving benefits from various agencies, particularly since many cannot read print or forms that needs to be filled out. People know how long red tape can take, and to deal with these forms, on top of not being able to read, compounds their dilemma.
As formally defined by American Foundation for the Blind, it states: "Legal blindness is a level of vision loss that has been legally defined to determine eligibility for benefits. The clinical diagnosis refers to a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the best possible correction, and/or a visual field of 20 degrees or less."
So, you may be wondering what happens if a sighted person, someone without a vision impairment, were to apply for assistance they don't need, would be illegally blind? Not exactly; the term doesn't come up, but instead, what that person did is committing fraud. Nothing else to it.
So, when someone says they are legally blind, it generally means they are not totally blind, but still blind enough to need assistance with reading print or to navigate their way in life. They may be able to see features of your face in detail, but won't see the incoming car until it's too late.