Thursday, May 10, 2012

Disabling AION

According to, Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy (“AION”):

is a potentially visually devastating disease that occurs in the middle aged and the elderly. This condition is often referred to as a stroke of the optic nerve, and it usually begins suddenly with little warning in one eye, but frequently progresses to the other eye over time. Vision loss often includes both the loss of visual field and visual acuity which can vary from being nearly normal to severely impaired. The unexpected sudden visual acuity and visual field loss makes AION a particularly overwhelming disease for many patients.

When it comes to visual impairments, the State agency and Social Security Administrative Law Judges tend to focus solely on visual acuity. I suspect that tendency is because acuity is simpler to understand than other visual impairments, and that is especially true when considering the impairment listings for visual problems. Social Security is continually making the listings more complicated; probably to make it more difficult for claimants to meet.

I was retained by a 60 year old apartment manager with AION after his Social Security Disability application was denied. While the medical records showed that his visual acuity did not meet the listings, they did show that his visual fields did. I had the claimant’s eye doctor explain in simple steps why the claimant’s central and peripheral vision met both listings relating to visual fields. I submitted an on-the-record request based on the eye doctor’s explanation, which was approved today.

No comments: