How Do You Treat Glaucoma
At present, there is no cure for glaucoma. Instead, treatment options focus on slowing the rate of the disease and managing its more severe symptoms.
Early treatment plans include supplements that increase eye health. These include:
- Matcha and ginseng teas.
- Reducing or removing caffeine from your diet.
Appealing A Denial For Glaucoma Benefits
Do not be discouraged if your initial application for glaucoma benefits was denied, or if you believe your assigned rating was too low. It is your right to appeal the decision. However, the appeal must establish three thingsa current diagnosis of glaucoma, an in-service event or onset and a medical link between the two.
Risks Of Glaucoma Surgery
Glaucoma surgeries have some possible risks, such as:
- A higher chance of getting cataracts
- Infection or leaking of the incision
- Too low pressure
- Hemorrhages inside the eye
Unfortunately, the new drainage path can close, causing pressure in the eye to rise again. Filtering surgery can be repeated with good results. Also, drainage implants are often successful in patients whose filtering surgery has failed. The medicines that reduce inflammation and control scar formation after surgery have helped increase the success of glaucoma surgeries.
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The Financial Cost Of Glaucoma
The annual cost of glaucoma to the U.S. health care budget is approximately $2.5 billion. Glaucoma is a preventable affliction, but awareness of its progressively negative effects is relatively low, especially amongst certain sections of the population.
Nationally, glaucoma affects the elderly and the Hispanic community disproportionally. The prevalence of glaucoma is predicted to increase by 28% by 2050, partly because of the aging population.
The cost of treating glaucoma is amplified because of its late detection. Advanced glaucoma can lead to blindness. Late diagnosis of glaucoma means the cost of treatment is increased as medical treatment is accompanied by the need for special equipment and support as eye sight deteriorates.
Early onset glaucoma can be detected quite easily by an ophthalmologist or eye doctor. Although glaucoma can rarely be reversed, it can be contained, or its deterioration slowed, by regular direct application of pressure reducing eye drops, oral medication or laser treatment.
As glaucoma is caused by high intraocular pressure, all treatment methods are aimed at reducing pressure.
If caught in its early stages, the cost of treating glaucoma may be as low as $620 a year, increasing to $2,500 a year for those with end stage disease, which can end in blindness.
If You Think You Might Be Eligible You May Have Questions That Need Answers
Specifically, you may be wondering:
- What kind of benefits can I recover? You may receive a monthly Social Security disability check. The amount of money in the check depends on your age and how much youve worked and contributed to the Social Security system in recent years and over your lifetime.
- How do I get started with a Social Security disability application? The Social Security Administration allows you to apply for disability benefits online, over the phone, or at a Social Security office. However, it is important to know that a large number of initial applications are denied because of incomplete or incorrect information. Accordingly, it is important to avoid that delay by making sure you know how to file an application and get the help you need to do so in a way that the application can be approved.
- What evidence will I need to support my application? You will, at a minimum, need information about your work history and medical diagnosis.
- How hard is the Social Security disability application process? A large percentage of initial applications are denied. Some are denied because of technicalities. However, that should not discourage you from filing an application if you are disabled. Remember, you have the right to hire a Social Security disability lawyer to take care of the application process for you.
If you have additional questions about Social Security disability, we encourage you to get answers by starting a live chat with us now.
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The Importance Of Lighting Conditions
The lighting conditions under which tasks are performed may be even more important than the task itself. Seventy percent of patients in a focus group complained of glare with bright lights, while over half described difficulty adapting to different levels of lighting . Another study noted that 82% of glaucoma subjects described trouble seeing in the dark as compared to only 32% of controls . Two studies have also noted that the greatest change in self-reported ability with worsening VF damage occurs in the domain of lighting and glare . Simulated VF constriction in normal individuals has also been observed to have a more profound effect under scotopic conditions , though direct testing of task performance in glaucoma subjects relative to light level remains largely unexplored.
Applying For Social Security Disability Benefits
You can apply for disability benefits online, but if you are going to ask for a Residual Functional Capacity evaluation you might want to apply in person and get help with the application from a staff member to make sure your request is processed properly. Find your local SSA office and make an appointment to file a claim. Do not forget to bring copies of all of your medical, mental health and adjunct treatment documents with you. The process can be time consuming and quite detailed, but the end resutlts can be most advantageous.
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Have Questions About Your Veterans Benefits
If youre a disabled veteran seeking benefits for an eye condition, and the VA either denied your claim or awarded a lower percent rating than expected, the team at Hill & Ponton is here to help. Our attorneys can assess your disability claim and entitlement to VA benefits. Contact our law firm today for a free case evaluation.
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Glaucoma In The Workplace
Adapting to your vision loss can be difficult, especially in your work-related activities. Learn more about the following issues as you consider your options:
Learn as much as you can about your disease and your prognosis. If you have some remaining vision, you may be able to use a low-vision device, such as a telescope or other reading aid. Your doctor can examine you to see if youre a good candidate.
A low-vision specialist can help you maximize the vision you have so that you can continue to work safely and effectively. Tell the specialist about:
- The type of work you do
- What you want to continue doing
- Details about any visual difficulties you’re experiencing
Look into your options for early retirement, Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits , and Supplemental Security Income . However, keep in mind that it is often much easier to adapt your current work situation than to try to reenter the workforce after leaving.
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Denied Va Disability Benefits For Glaucoma
VA disability claims for glaucoma can be difficult to win, especially when glaucoma stems from military burn pit exposure. As VA does not recognize presumptive service connection for veterans who were exposed to military burn pits, veterans can often feel hopeless when dealing with their VA disability claim.
However, if you received a denial in your claim for glaucoma, it does not have to be the end of the road. Our experienced VA disability attorneys may be able to help you secure VA disability benefits for your glaucoma. Contact our office today for a free consultation at 800-544-9144.
Talk To A Disability Lawyer
Need a lawyer? Start here.
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Staging Glaucoma For Purposes Of Disability
To relate difficulty with a given task with disease severity, an appropriate disease severity scale must be used. Several glaucoma staging systems have been previously described, though nearly all focus on staging disease for a single eye . Overlapping VF loss in both eyes may be most relevant to disability. Therefore, systems to directly test the binocular VF were developed, such as the Esterman binocular suprathreshold field . Others have devised methods to simulate the binocular VF by combining data from separate right and left monocular VF tests .
The best metric of glaucoma damage to relate disease severity to disability still remains unclear. Overlapping VF loss has not been shown to produce more disability than non-overlapping VF loss. Additionally, Esterman VFs are not routinely ordered, and no bedside method for combining right and left VFs is available. Thus, metrics which use the individual monocular field data, such as the mean deviation of the better or worse eye, have been most common employed. Further work is needed to more easily measure or generate binocular fields, and to further explore their utility as a metric for disability.
Va Service Connection For Glaucoma
Generally, approval for VA disability benefits requires three things:
- An in-service event, injury, or illness
- A current diagnosis by a medical professional and
- A medical nexus, or link, between your in-service event, injury, or illness and your current diagnosis.
To support the veterans claim for service connection, the veteran may submit lay evidence. Lay evidence, or lay statements, can be written by the veteran, their friends, family, coworkers, or anyone who knows the veteran and can speak to their condition. Importantly, lay evidence may also be submitted by fellow service members.
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How To Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits
To begin the application process, you can make an appointment with your local Social Security office or you can apply online at the Social Security Administration website. Prior to applying, be sure to have medical documents, financial records, and information about work history on hand. The SSA will need this evidence in order to approve your claim for disability benefits.
To improve your chances of approval, it is important to work closely with your doctor. He or she will be able to help you collect all necessary medical records and even provide you with an official letter, detailing exactly how your vision loss affects your ability to work. If you find that you are feeling overwhelmed by the process, it may also be in your best interest to work with a Social Security Disability attorney or advocate. A legal professional will know the ins and outs of the systems and will endure that your application is complete and error-free.
Once you have applied for Social Security Disability benefits, you should receive a determination from within three to six months. If you are denied benefits during the initial application process, do not be discouraged. Most disability claims are approved during the appeal stage of the application process.
Glaucoma And Disability Which Tasks To Study
Studies have suggested that glaucoma affects a broad array of activities , raising the question of which vision-related activities are most important for study. Ideally, investigations should focus on activities which are both important to individuals with glaucoma and are likely to be affected by the disease.
Recent work has assessed which activities are most important to subjects with glaucoma by asking them to choose amongst hypothetical scenarios in which they had different levels of difficulty with different tasks . Subjects gave the greatest importance to tasks involving central and near vision , with high scores also given to mobility outside the home . Less importance was given to glare, bumping into objects, and performing household chores .
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Work Accommodations For People With Glaucoma
If you want to continue your current job, good communication with your employer is a must. Its critical for you to clearly explain your situation and any adaptive needs to ensure that your employer can make the proper accommodations for you.
Be clear in explaining your specific visual needs to your employer or co-workers, because they may not have experience with or knowledge of glaucoma and low vision. When you meet with your employer, provide details about what types of aids you may need, such as:
- Large print labels for your materials
- Different kinds of lighting to improve light levels
- Desk position or lighting adjustments to control lighting and glare
- Low-vision devices such as a magnifier or CCTV/video magnifier for reading difficulty
Analyze your work to see if there are any duties you believe you can no longer perform, such as:
- Driving a vehicle
What Are The Primary Qualifications For A Vision Impairment
You or a loved one can qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance if you are legally blind, statutorily blind, and have earned enough work credits to be considered insured. An applicant may also qualify for Supplemental Security Income if historically unable to work because of a visual disorder.
The SSA maintains standard listings that outline disability related to visual disorders in their Blue Book. Specifically, Section 2.00 of the Blue Book contains a listing of visual impairments that are used to evaluate visual disorders. The SSA considers both legal or statutory blindness as a qualified disability.
Legally blind individuals include people who have been blind since birth and are only eligible to receive SSI benefits because, most likely, they never worked before.
Legally blind also includes those individuals that have experienced severe vision loss due to conditions like glaucoma, retinopathy, traumatic injury, and other conditions. These individuals could receive SSDI if they paid Social Security taxes for 5 out of the past 10 years.
To determine whether an applicant is statutorily blind and may qualify for disability benefits, the vision loss or blindness must meet one of the following requirements:
- Vision cannot be corrected to better than 20/200 in your better eye, or
- The visual field is 20 degrees or less in the better eye for a period that lasted or is expected to last at least 12 months.
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Disability Ratings Are Based On Your Glaucoma Diagnosis
If youve already seen your doctor about glaucoma, they should have given you an estimate of your disability rating. This rating is given as a percentage based on your level of impairment. This level is primarily dependent upon the edition of the American Medical Association guidebook that your doctor uses.
There are three versions of the AMA guidebook currently in use: the 3rd, 4th, and 5th. Each state has a different legal requirement for which of these versions to consult, and disability ratings may differ greatly between versions. For example, someone in Virginia who can only read the first three lines of a vision chart may qualify for a greater disability amount than someone with the same level of vision loss in Florida.
If youre confused or concerned about how your disability rating is calculated, ask your doctor which version of the AMA guidebook he or she used and what it says about glaucoma and other optical conditions.
VA doctors will know to give you your disability rating immediately, but other doctors may need to be told. Either way, always make sure that you are provided your official disability rating in writing.
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Qualifying Through A Rfc Form
Gaining SSD benefits as a result of meeting the exacting criteria of a listing in the SSAs Blue Book is the primary route for those with advanced glaucoma, but it is not the only method. If you cannot meet the criteria under the Blue Books listings, such as 2.02 and 2.04 which are based on visual acuity, there is a chance that you may qualify by submitting a RFC form.
The Residual Functional Capacity Form is not a compulsory requirement of the SSD application process, but is an optional qualification choice.
Remember that to obtain SSD benefits you must be able to prove that you are unable to work for at least the next 12 months. As glaucoma is a progressive disease, this is determined by just how far the deterioration in the retina and optic nerve has reached.
The RFC is a form, easily downloaded off the SSAs website, which is best filled in by your physician, who is the best qualified to assess the status of your glaucoma and the ability or otherwise for you to continue working.
What you may not realize is that an adjudicator at the Disability Determination Services may use the information available on your file held with the SSA to fill in a RFC regardless, if this has not been done by your physician.
There are five exertional levels in the SSA classification system, which range from a sedentary work level requiring minimal movement right through light, medium, heavy, and very heavy.
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Risk Factors For Developing Glaucoma
As you will notice in the list of risk factors below, certain genetic and health-related traits may predispose individuals to developing glaucoma. However, injury to the eye area is also a common cause. If an in-service event, such as an attack or an explosion, caused or contributed to your glaucoma, you may be able to obtain glaucoma veterans benefits. Risk factors include:
- High internal eye pressure
- Being of African or Latin descent
- Being over the age of 60
- Having family members with glaucoma
- Having certain health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, sickle cell anemia, and high blood pressure
- Having thin corneas
- Having suffered an eye injury
- Having had eye surgery
- Long-term or excessive use of corticosteroid medications
VA will review your appeal for glaucoma veterans benefits to determine if there is a possible connection to military service. Consult with a veterans disability lawyer to seek the maximum compensation available to you: .