Famous People With Cataracts And How They Dealt With The Condition

Living with cataracts can sometimes seem like an epic struggle. Learn the stories behind these famous people with cataracts to see how they coped with the condition.

Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei, commonly referred to as simply Galileo, was a famous astronomer known for heliocentrism and his adaptions to the telescope. He was a prominent philosopher, mathematician and physicist.
Many people mistakenly believe that Galileo went blind by staring at the sun through his rudimentary telescope. While Galileo did use a telescope to study the sun–whereby he discovered the existence of sun spots–this was not the reason behind his eventual blindness: Galileo suffered from a combination of cataracts and glaucoma.

Claude Monet

Claude Monet, a famous painter of the Impressionist era, is one of the most famous visual artists to have suffered from cataracts. This condition is considered responsible for Monet’s trademarked “blurry” style of painting, which is most famously exhibited by his Water Lilies series in the early 1900s.
In 1923 Monet underwent a successful cataract surgery. The paintings he completed after this period exhibited a sense of light that has caused some to believe that Monet could perceive ultraviolet wavelengths as a result of the surgery. Art critics have noted his pre-cataract surgery paintings for involving reddish hues, which is typical of cataract victims.

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria is among the most famous cataract victims. Because she doubted the diagnosis of her physicians and refused cataracts treatments and surgery, the problem was never corrected.
She was partially blind upon her death in 1901, even though the technology for removing cataracts was around. In fact, surgery for cataracts was mentioned in the Babylonian Code of Hammurabi, over 4,000 years ago.
The first cataract surgery that actually extracted the clouded lens was performed in 1748 by French physician J. Daviel, more than 150 years before Queen Victoria’s death.

Tony Max

Tony Max is perhaps the best example of a modern celebrity who has suffered from cataracts. A Canadian visual artist, Max was born with congenital cataracts. He was considered legally blind, possessing only 10 percent of his natural vision.
As a teenager Max underwent corrective surgery for cataracts, however complications from the surgery led to glaucoma and three subsequent retinal detachments. Despite this disability, Max went on to be one of Canada’s most legendary modern visual artists.
While new research on cataracts is always developing, the stories of these famous people with cataracts demonstrate that you can still lead full and productive lives with this condition.