Home > Uncategorized > And the Blind Shall See: Bionic Eyes and Workers’ Comp Total Perm. Disability

And the Blind Shall See: Bionic Eyes and Workers’ Comp Total Perm. Disability

Hello, dear readers!

Your humble blogger bids you a happy Friday with an eye-opening blog post (of sorts – wait for it, dear readers, the pun will make sense shortly).

BGR reports that, 40 years after an infection deprived a man of his eyesight, rendering him totally blind, surgeons have successfully completed a bionic eye implant procedure, restoring his sight.

Take a moment to think about that – 40 years of darkness and, with one procedure, being able to see again.  It is an amazing achievement for science and medicine, and a tremendous impact in the life of this gentleman and his family.

Now, let’s talk about dollars and cents! (Be still, my cold, merciless, defense attorney heart).

Labor Code section 4662 allows for a conclusive presumption that the loss of both eyes or sight thereof constitutes permanent total disability. In case you’re curious about the impact that has on a file, an applicant to have lost both eyes is entitled to his 2/3rd of his average weekly wages for the rest of his life, with COLA increases to boot.

Well, can we cross this line off?  Is it safe to repeal 4662(a)(1) now that there is a medical procedure which can return eyesight to the blind?

Your humble blogger has repeatedly posted about how technology is replacing jobs traditionally done by human workers with robot ones.  From the other side of the spectrum, is technology slowly eliminating permanent disability? Are we getting to the point where just about any condition can be alleviated by medicine?

Let’s hope so, right?

Now, what does a Texas eye implant have to do with California comp?  Well, in cases where there is partial or total loss of eyesight, this might be a solution.  The result could be a better quality of life for the worker, a return to work, and (my favorite) less PD exposure.

But this is a relatively new thing – so new, in fact, that it made the news.  Does your treating physician know about this?  Does your QME or AME?  It might make sense to write to the treating physician and ask about it – wouldn’t you override UR, or even the MPN, if it made the difference between a life pension and a bit of PD?  It might even be worth a flight to Texas and a non-fee schedule payment for the implant if you’re looking at 50 years of TTD and COLA.

In any case, dear readers, here’s looking at you! Have a good weekend!







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