Nystagmus is a condition where the eyes move rapidly and uncontrollably, that causes reduced vision and depth perception, and can affect balance and coordination. The involuntary eye movements, which can occur from side to side, up and down, or in a circular pattern, prevent the eyes steadily viewing objects. People with nystagmus hold their heads in unusual positions to compensate for the condition. Fatigue and stress can make nystagmus even worse. Even disregarding the effect that fatigue and stress has on nystagmus, nystagmus can be disabling.
We represent a claimant with nystagmus from West Hempstead, who had to prove that he was disabled before he turned 22 years old. There was evidence that the claimant’s visual acuity with glasses was 20-200 after he turned 22, which meets a listing. However, records before he turned 22 were sparse because his treating doctor had retired.
At the hearing, a medical expert (“ME”) testified that while it was unclear if the claimant met a listing before he was 22, his ability to see was definitely equal to 20-200 or worse before he turned 22. The ME explained that the claimant’s borderline visual acuity was exacerbated by the nystagmus because it required the claimant to look at odd angles as opposed to straight ahead, and objects would not remain still.
After hearing the ME’s testimony, the administrative law judge (“ALJ”) agreed that it would be unnecessary to ask the vocational expert to testify, which meant that the ALJ intended to approve the claimant’s benefits.
The claimant originally applied on his own, and was denied. He retained us after the denial, and we made certain to obtain all the medical evidence that we needed to get his claim approved. If you are planning on applying for Social Security Disability, it is in your best interest to hire an attorney who specializes in disability claims. My office offers a free phone consultation and has offices conveniently located on Long Island in both Nassau and Suffolk counties.
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