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Wisconsin Workers' Compensation Legal Library

Wisconsin Home Page   >   Wisconsin Regulations
DWD 80.26 Loss of vision; determination. The following rules for
determining loss of visual efficiency shall be applicable to all
cases settled after December 1, 1941, irrespective of the date of
injury, except that, in the examples for computations of compensation
payable and of the percentage of permanent total disability, the
computation of the percentage of visual impairment must be applied to
the provisions of the worker's compensation act as they existed at
the date of the injury.
(1) Maximum and minimum limits of the primary coordinate factors of
vision. In order to determine the various degrees of visual
efficiency, a) normal or maximum, and b) minimum, limits for each
coordinate function must be established; i.e., the 100% point and the
0% point.
(a) Maximum limits. The maximum efficiency for each of these is
established by existing and accepted standards.
1. Central visual acuity. The ability to recognize letters or
characters which subtend an angle of 5 minutes, each unit part of
which subtends a 1 minute angle at the distance viewed is accepted as
standard. Therefore a 20/20 Snellen or A.M.A. and a 14/14 A.M.A. are
employed as the maximum acuity of central vision, or 100% acuity for
distance vision and near vision respectively.
2. Field vision. A visual field having an area which extends from
the point of fixation outward 65, down and out 65, down 55, down and
in 45, inward 45, in and up 45, upward 45, and up and out 55 is
accepted as 100% industrial visual field efficiency.
3. Binocular vision. Maximum binocular vision is present if there is
absence of diplopia in all parts of the field of binocular fixation,
and if the 2 eyes give useful binocular vision.
(b) Minimum limits. The minimum limit, or the 0% of the coordinate
functions of vision, is established at that degree of deficiency
which reduces vision to a state of industrial uselessness.
1. Central visual acuity. The minimum limit of this function is
established as the loss of light perception, light perception being
qualitative vision. The practical minimum limit of quantitative
visual acuity is established as the ability to distinguish form.
Experience, experiment and authoritative opinion show that for
distance vision 20/200 Snellen or A.M.A. Chart is 80% loss of visual
efficiency, 20/380 is 96% loss, and 20/800 is 99.9% loss, and that
for near vision 14/141 A.M.A. Reading Card is 80% loss of visual
efficiency, 14/266 is 96% loss, and 14/560 is 99.9% loss. Table 1
shows the percentage loss of visual efficiency corresponding to the
Snellen and other notations for distant and for near vision, for the
measurable range of quantitative visual acuity.
2. Field vision. The minimum limit for this function is established
as a concentric central contraction of the visual field to 5. This
degree of contraction of the visual field of an eye reduces the
visual efficiency to zero.
3. Binocular vision. The minimum limit is established by the
presence of diplopia in all parts of the motor field, or by lack of
useful binocular vision. This condition constitutes 50% motor field
(c) Where distance vision is less than 20/200 and the A.M.A. Chart
is used, readings will be at 10 feet. The percentage of efficiency
and loss may be obtained from this table by comparison with
corresponding readings on the basis of 20 feet, interpolating between
readings if necessary. In view of the lack of uniform standards among
the various near vision charts, readings for near vision, within the
range of vision covered thereby, are to be according to the American
Medical Association Rating Reading Card of 1932.
(2) Measurement of coordinate factors of vision and the computation
of their partial loss.
(a) Central visual acuity.
1. Central visual acuity shall be measured both for distance and for
near, each eye being measured separately, both with and without
correction. Where the purpose of the computation is to determine loss
of vision resulting from injury, if correction is needed for a
presbyopia due to age or for some other condition clearly not due to
the injury (see section on miscellaneous regulations), the central
visual acuity "without correction", as the term is used herein, shall
be measured with a correction applied for such presbyopia or other
preexisting condition but without correction for any condition which
may have resulted from the injury. The central visual acuity "with
correction" shall be measured with correction applied for all
conditions present.
2. The percentage of central visual acuity efficiency of the eye for
distance vision shall be based on the best percentage of central
visual acuity between the percentage of central visual acuity with
and without correction. However, in no case shall such subtraction
for glasses be taken at more than 25%, or less than 5%, of total
central visual acuity efficiency. If a subtraction of 5%, however,
reduces the percentage of central visual acuity efficiency below that
obtainable without correction, the percentage obtainable without
correction shall be adopted unless correction is nevertheless
necessary to prevent eye strain or for other reasons.
3. The percentage of central visual acuity efficiency of the eye for
near vision shall be based on a similar computation from the near
vision readings, with and without correction.
4. The percentage of central visual acuity efficiency of the eye in
question shall be the result of the weighted values assigned to these
2 percentages for distance and for near. A onefold value is assigned
to distance vision and a twofold value to near vision. Thus, if the
central visual efficiency for distance is 70% and that for near is
40%, the percentage of central visual efficiency for the eye in
question would be: -
5. The Snellen test letters or characters as published by the
Committee on Compensation for Eye Injuries of the American Medical
Association and designated "Industrial Vision Test Charts" subtend a
5 minute angle, and their component parts a 1 minute angle. These
test letters or the equivalent are to be used at an examining
distance of 20 feet for distant vision (except as otherwise noted on
the Chart where vision is very poor), and of 14 inches for near
vision, from the patient. The illumination is to be not less than
three foot candles, nor more than ten foot candles on the surface of
the chart.
6. Table 1 shows the percentage of central visual acuity efficiency
and the percentage loss of such efficiency, both for distance and for
near, for partial loss between 100% and zero vision for either eye.
(b) Field vision.
1. The extent of the field of vision shall be determined by the use
of the usual perimetric test methods, a white target being employed
which subtends a 1 degree angle under illumination of not less than 3
foot candles, and the result plotted on the industrial visual field
chart. The readings should be taken, if possible, without restriction
to the field covered by the correction worn.
2. The amount of radial contraction in the 8 principal meridians
shall be determined. The sum of the degrees of field vision remaining
on these meridians,divided by 420 (the sum of the 8 principal radii
of the industrial visual field) will give the visual field efficiency
of one eye in per cent, subject to the proviso stated in the section
on "Minimum Limits" that a concentric central contraction of the
field to a diameter of 5 degrees reduces the visual efficiency to zero.
3. Where the impairment of field is irregular and not fairly
disclosed by the 8 radii, the impaired area should be sketched upon
the diagram on the report blank, and the computation be based on a
greater number of radii, or otherwise, as may be necessary to a fair
(c) Binocular vision.
1. Binocular vision shall be measured in all parts of the motor
field, recognized methods being used for testing. It shall be
measured with any useful correction applied.
2. Diplopia may involve the field of binocular fixation entirely or
partially. When diplopia is present, this shall be plotted on the
industrial motor field chart. This chart is divided into 20
rectangles, 4 by 5 degrees in size. The partial loss due to diplopia
is that proportional area which shows diplopia as indicated on the
plotted chart compared with the entire motor field area.
3. When diplopia involves the entire motor field, causing an
irremediable diplopia, or when there is absence of useful binocular
vision due to lack of accommodation or other reason, the loss of
coordinate visual efficiency is equal to 50% loss of the vision
existing in one eye (ordinarily the injured, or the more seriously
injured, eye); and when the diplopia is partial, the loss in visual
efficiency shall be proportional and based on the efficiency factor
value of one eye as stated in table 2. When useful correction is
applied to relieve diplopia, 5% of total motor field efficiency of
one eye shall be deducted from the percent of such efficiency
obtainable with the correction. A correction which does not improve
motor field efficiency by at least 5% of total will not ordinarily be
considered useful.
(3) Industrial visual efficiency of one eye. The industrial visual
efficiency of one eye is determined by obtaining the product of the
computed coordinate efficiency values of central visual acuity, of
field of vision, and of binocular vision. Thus, if central visual
acuity efficiency is 50%, visual field efficiency is 80% and the
binocular vision efficiency is 100%, the resultant visual efficiency
of the eye will be 50 80 100 = 40%. Should useful binocular
vision be absent in all of the motor field so that binocular
efficiency is reduced to 50%, the visual efficiency would be 50 80
50 = 20%.
(4) Computation of compensation for impairment of vision. When the
percentage of industrial visual efficiency of each eye has been thus
determined, it is subtracted from 100%. The difference represents the
percentage impairment of each eye for industrial use. These
percentages are applied directly to the specific schedules of the
Worker's Compensation Act.
(5) Types of ocular injury not included in the disturbance of
coordinate factors. Certain types of ocular disturbance are not
included in the foregoing computations and these may result in
disabilities, the value of which cannot be computed by any scale as
yet scientifically possible of deduction. Such are disturbances of
accommodation not previously provided for in these rules, of color
vision, of adaptation to light and dark, metamorphopsia, entropion,
ectropion, lagophthalmos, epiphora, and muscle disturbances not
included under diplopia. For such disabilities additional
compensation shall be awarded, but in no case shall such additional
award make the total compensation for loss in industrial visual
efficiency greater than that provided by law for total permanent
(6) Miscellaneous rules.
(a) Compensation shall not be computed until all adequate and
reasonable operations and treatment known to medical science have
been attempted to correct the defect. Further, before there shall be
made the final examination on which compensation is to be computed,
at least 3 months shall have elapsed after the last trace of visible
inflammation has disappeared, except in cases of disturbance of
extrinsic ocular muscles, optic nerve atrophy, injury of the retina,
sympathetic ophthalmia, and traumatic cataract; in such cases, at
least 12 months and preferably not more than 16 months shall
intervene before the examination shall be made on which final
compensation is to be computed. In case the injury is one which may
cause cataract, optic atrophy, disturbance of the retina, or other
conditions, which may further impair vision after the time of the
final examination, note thereof should be made by the examining
physician on his report.
(b) In cases of additional loss in visual efficiency, when it is
known that there was present a preexisting subnormal vision,
compensation shall be based on the loss incurred as a result of eye
injury or occupational condition specifically responsible for the
additional loss. In case there exists no record or no adequate and
positive evidence of preexisting subnormal vision, it shall be
assumed that the visual efficiency prior to any injury was 100%. In
order to effect the above purpose, the examining physician should
carefully distinguish, in regard to each of the coordinate factors,
between impairments resulting from the injury and impairments not so
resulting as established by the type of proof here stated. Such other
impairments should, however, be also reported, separately.
Computation must occasionally also be made of impairment of vision
not resulting from the injury, as, for instance, for the purpose of
computing additional indemnity due under the provisions of the
Worker's Compensation Act on account of preexisting disability of one
or both eyes.
Note: Example of computation covering partial disability to a single
eye -
Note: Example of computation covering partial disability to both
eyes -
Note: Example of compensation covering enucleation of one eye and
partial disability of the other eye -
History: 1-2-56; am. Register, January, 1960, No. 49, eff. 2-1-60;
am. Register, October, 1965, No. 118, eff. 11-1-65; r. and recr.
Register, September, 1972, No. 201, eff. 10-1-72; am. (1) to (4), r.
(5), renum. (6) and (7) to be (5) and (6), cr. (7) and am. (8),
Register, September, 1975, No. 237, eff. 10-1-75; am. (intro.), (2)
to (4), (6), (8) and (9), Register, September, 1986, No. 369, eff. 10-

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