Blindness and vision impairments are often significant disabilities that require adjustments to a workplace if a person is to be employed. The Americans with Disabilities Act does protect Americans who have disabilities such as visual impairments, so that they can participate in activities similarly to others but with reasonable accommodations.
Did you know that around 6.6 million people in America struggle with a vision impairment or with being legally blind? The term “vision impairment,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, defines situations where a person’s vision cannot be corrected to a “normal” state.
Statistically, low vision is when a person’s visual acuity is between 20/70 and 20/400 with correction. It also includes a visual field of 20 or fewer degrees. Being legally blind means that the individual has a visual acuity score of 20/200 and a visual field of 20 or fewer degrees.
Vision impairments don’t stop people from working
Although it may seem like vision impairments would stop people from doing their work, this is not always the case. Many employees successfully work in a range of jobs. Unfortunately, there are still employers who don’t understand these disorders and who may unfairly exclude individuals from certain roles in the workplace.
Employers may not ask about vision impairment during hiring
Did you know that an employer is not allowed to ask you questions about your medical condition before you receive a job offer? They can’t ask if you have had eye surgery, take prescription medications or have a condition leading to a vision impairment, for example. This restriction helps protect people with vision impairments so that they are able to go through interviews without being discriminated against based on their medical history.
Employers are allowed to ask if you can work at night or if you can read labels that need to be used in the workplace, as well as other questions about your ability to perform necessary functions in the workplace.
If your employer or potential employer discriminates against you because of a vision impairment, know that you are likely protected by the ADA. You may be able to hold the employer responsible for their actions.