Stars with Vision Loss: Celebrities Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision
According to the World Health Organization, at least 2.2 billion people around the world have a near or distance vision impairment. In the United States, over 7 million Americans have vision loss or blindness, according to a study by the CDC. Statistically, this means there are quite a few blind celebrities. Here are a few famous people who are blind or have low vision:
Lachi is a singer-songwriter, touring performer, producer, actress, author, disability advocate, and cultural activist. As a blind performer, Lachi speaks and performs regularly at Disability Pride events and promotes disability representation and inclusion in media. She has worked closely with the organization Divas with Disabilities. In 2020, the New York Times listed Lachi in an article on 28 ways to learn about disability culture. Lachi has established herself as a disability advocate in the music industry, and has spoken and performed at the White House, the United Nations, the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and the BBC. Additionally, Lachi founded Recording Artists and Music Professionals with Disabilities (RAMPD), which partnered with the Recording Academy to help make the Grammy Awards more accessible through sign language interpreters, live captioning, audio description, and ramps on the red carpet.
Singer-songwriter, musician, and record producer Stevie Wonder is one of the most well known blind celebrities in the world. Wonder was born six weeks premature, which resulted in retinopathy of prematurity, a condition in which the growth of the eyes is aborted and causes the retinas to detach, causing blindness.
Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli was born with congenital glaucoma. At age 12, he experienced a brain hemorrhage from a soccer accident and became completely blind in both eyes. In interviews, Bocelli has spoken about the comforting role music played during his childhood. “When I was five, my mother discovered that the only way to comfort me with my glaucoma was to play classical music on the record player,” he said.
Singer, songwriter, guitarist, and engineer Raul Midón and his twin brother Marco became blind as infants after spending time in an incubator without adequate eye protection. “A good thing about being blind,” Midón said, “is that you literally imagine the world all the time. There’s no other way.” Midon has stated that his blindness is an integral part of who is as an artist and a human being. Midón even has an album titled Bad Ass and Blind.
Irish singer-songwriter, activist, and philanthropist Bono, lead vocalist of the band U2, has lived with glaucoma since the 1990s. Known for his signature sunglasses, Bono shared in a 2005 Rolling Stone interview that “[I have] very sensitive eyes to light. If somebody takes my photograph, I will see the flash for the rest of the day. My right eye swells up. I’ve a blockage there, so that my eyes go red a lot. So it’s part vanity, it’s part privacy and part sensitivity.
Musician Brittany Howard of the Alabama Shakes was born with retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer that caused partial blindness in her left eye. Her sister Jaime died from the same condition when Howard was eight, and in 2019, Howard released her debut solo album, Jaime, dedicated to her sister.
In 2011, actress Mila Kunis shared that she was “blind in one eye for many years, and nobody knew.” Though Kunis is no longer blind following corrective surgery, she experienced chronic iritis, an inflammation of the iris, for years. As a result, she experienced low vision and developed a cataract. Kunis also has heterochromia iridum, a condition in which the irises are different colors.
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