Do chronic dry eyes qualify me for Social Security disability payments?

It’s possible. While not all dry-eye sufferers can get disability payments, there are many people for whom everyday tasks are made extremely difficult—even impossible—because they cannot produce tears.

Sjögren’s Syndrome May Qualify You to Receive Disability Payments

First, you will need to understand if your dry eyes are a standalone condition or a symptom of a larger issue. For example, some cases of chronic dry eyes may be caused by Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder that affects the tear ducts and salivary glands. As a result, the patient is often unable to produce tears and saliva, giving him a chronic dry mouth and eyes.

You may qualify for Social Security disability payments for chronic dry eyes if you:

  • Have additional symptoms. In addition to dry eyes, Sjögren's syndrome can cause fever, fatigue, involuntary weight loss, and it may eventually begin to affect other organs such as the kidneys and lungs.
  • Cannot perform routine activities. Dry eyes can affect many daily activities by compromising the ability to see clearly. Patients are often unable to drive or read for long periods because their eyes get tired more quickly than usual.
  • Have problems interacting socially. You may have to keep your eyes closed for prolonged periods, wear tinted glasses indoors, have perpetually red eyes, or avoid bright lights or environments that could cause eye pain or potential infection.
  • Cannot perform work tasks. Patients with dry eyes may have to take frequent breaks to apply eyedrops, rest their eyes, or reduce the light levels in their workplaces to avoid eyestrain.

The key to getting approved for benefits is providing a complete picture of your condition to the Social Security Administration. Do you want to learn more? Order a free copy of our important guide, The Five Deadly Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Social Security Disability Case.

Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska