Everyday People Matter

Researchers Discover Gene Responsible for Rare Blindness-Deafness Disorder

| Apr 23, 2017 | Children, Wellness studies

Scientists recently announced that they have discovered a gene that is responsible for a condition that causes children to be born with blindness, deafness, and other serious symptoms.

This condition is known as COMMAD Syndrome, and children born with it suffer from deafness, blindness, albinism, fragile bones, a large head, malformed eyes, and prematurely graying hair. According to scientists, the condition is caused when children inherit a gene mutation called MITF from parents who are deaf and suffer from another genetic disorder called Waardenburg Syndrome 2A.

Not every person who suffers from deafness also suffers from Waardenburg Syndrome 2A. In fact, most people do not suffer from this rare genetic disorder. However, deaf persons often prefer to marry other deaf persons, and according to the researchers, it is important for persons to undergo genetic counseling before they get married to confirm that both of them do not suffer from Waardenburg Syndrome 2A. If they do, they may be at risk of transmitting the MITF genetic mutation to their children.

Both blindness and deafness do appear in the list of conditions that are eligible for benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance program. In the case of deafness, however, merely having a diagnosis is not sufficient. You must be able to show that your deafness is profound in order to recover benefits. Mild deafness may not render a person eligible for benefits. Moreover, the agency may not approve a claim if it finds that hearing loss can be successfully managed using a hearing device, and does not render a claimant incapable of performing other jobs.

In the case of blindness, the Social Security Administration will require that a claimant suffer from complete blindness or low vision in order to prove a claim. If vision cannot be corrected to a ratio better than 20/200, benefits may be awarded.

To understand if your loved one’s blindness or deafness is eligible for SSDI or SSI benefits, speak to a disability lawyer as soon as possible.