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From Reno, Nevada, USA:

My 52 year old wife has type 2 diabetes diagnosed three years ago, but I am sure she has had it for a long time, and she now has proliferative diabetic retinopathy in both eyes. So far, she has had laser surgeries in each eye and a vitrectomy in each eye.

For her vitrectomies, her employer placed her on medical leave of absence using the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993, and her medical leave of absence is about to expire, but her vision has not returned to a level where she can return to her job (She is a change person in a casino where she handles lots of money so her vision is mandatory.)

How long should it take for her vision to return? (It has been two and a half months since her last vitrectomy.) When her medical leave expires, will she be eligible for any kind of disability until her vision does return? Where can we go to learn about and apply for disability for the vision impaired?


Vision recovery will vary from case to case. Each situation is different and will have a different potential and time for vision recovery. The operating surgeon would be able to give you a prognosis since he is familiar with what the vision was going in and the extent of the retinal damage.

I do not know what kind of disability is available to her. The surgeon's office usually has available this information. Once the eye is healed a low vision evaluation should be considered. This is done by an eye provider who specializes in visually challenged patients. This evaluation will attempt to maximize the vision that remains with the goal of maintaining present employment. The low vision provider is also knowledgeable about agencies that are available for assistance. In Texas we have the Texas Commission for the Blind. Perhaps in Nevada there is a similar commission. While the name says "...for the blind", visually challenged may be a broader description. They do not deal with just "blind" patients. A commission like this may also have vocational rehabilitation services as well.


[Editor's comment: would speak with both the eye surgeon and your wife's diabetes doctor about a referral to a medical social worker to help you with the disability issues. SS]

Original posting 19 Nov 2001
Posted to Complications and Community Resources


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:28
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