Famous People With Glaucoma And How They Dealt With The Condition

If you’re having trouble dealing with glaucoma, you may benefit from reading about others who’ve conquered the disease. Many famous people with glaucoma have overcome the hurdle, which in some instances led to their blindness, and were able to lead successful and meaningful lives.

Ray Charles

Ray Charles is a famous American jazz and blues musician, pianist and composer. He was born with congenital glaucoma and did not receive treatment for the condition, which resulted in full blindness by age 7.
Even with the tragic loss of his vision, he went on to become an incredibly successful entertainer, earning a place in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame, Jazz Hall of Fame and Georgia Music Hall of Fame, in addition to dozens of Grammy awards.
While it was not widely known at the time, the instance of glaucoma in African-Americans is six to eight times higher than it is in white Americans (Glaucoma Research Foundation, 2011).

Andrea Bocelli

Andrea Bocelli, famous Italian tenor, was also born with congenital glaucoma. He suffered a severe football injury at the age of 12, eventually causing him to lose his vision. Medical experts at the time believed that the accident triggered his glaucoma, and that the disease was the real reason behind his blindness.
Like Ray Charles, Bocelli was able to live a full and successful life, despite his condition.

Jose Feliciano

Famous Puerto Rican guitarist and singer Jose Feliciano was blind at birth due to congenital glaucoma. He’s won several Grammy awards and is considered by some to be one of the greatest folk guitarists of his era.
In 1967 Feliciano traveled to England on a music tour. Because of the rabies laws in place, he was not allowed to bring his guide-dog into the country. This episode inspired his song “No Dogs Allowed.”

John Glenn

John Glenn, former U.S. Senator, NASA astronaut and Marine, suffered from glaucoma, which was possibly the result of a head injury he sustained in his home. While he suffered minimal loss of vision, he was inspired enough to take initiative in fighting the disease. He became the spokesperson for EyeSight, America’s campaign against blindness, and encouraged seniors to schedule regular glaucoma tests.
An estimated 70 million people around the world are living with glaucoma today. Hopefully the success stories of these famous individuals will help you when it comes to coping with glaucoma, which, while still an incurable disease, doesn’t have to ruin your life.