Famous People With Vision Impairments Past and Present

A listing of famous and well known sight impaired people who were blind and blind in one eye including actors and singers

Blindness is the condition of lacking visual perception due to physiological or neurological factors.

Total blindness is the complete lack of form and light perception and is clinically recorded as "NLP," an abbreviation for "no light perception.

In order to determine which people may need special assistance because of their visual disabilities, various governmental jurisdictions have formulated more complex definitions referred to as legal blindness.

Eye injuries, most often occurring in people under 30, are the leading cause of monocular blindness (vision loss in one eye).

Visually impaired and blind people have devised a number of techniques that allow them to complete daily activities using their remaining senses.

Recent access technology such as screen reading software enable the blind to use mainstream computer applications including the Internet.

Listed below are well known people who had or have a vision impairment including total blindness, sight conditions, and blindness in one eye.

Famous Blind and Sight Impaired People
Helen Keller - (1880 - 1968) - Helen Adams Keller (June 27, 1880 - June 1, 1968) was an American author, activist and lecturer. She was the first deaf/blind person to graduate from college. She was not born blind and deaf; it was not until nineteen months of age that she came down with an illness described by doctors as "an acute congestion of the stomach and the brain", which could have possibly been scarlet fever or meningitis. The illness did not last for a particularly long time, but it left her deaf and blind. Keller went on to become a world-famous speaker and author. She is remembered as an advocate for people with disabilities amid numerous other causes.
Stevie Wonder - (born Steveland Hardaway Judkins on May 13, 1950, name later changed to Steveland Hardaway Morris), is an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. Blind from infancy, Wonder signed with Motown Records as a pre-adolescent at age twelve, and continues to perform and record for the label to this day. It is thought that he received excessive oxygen in his incubator which led to retinopathy of prematurity, a destructive ocular disorder affecting the retina, characterized by abnormal growth of blood vessels, scarring, and sometimes retinal detachment.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt - (January 30, 1882 - April 12, 1945) Franklin was the 32nd President of the United States of America and played a big role during World War II. Roosevelt eventually aided the poor and un-employed of America and restored order at various times during his Presidency. He was also the only President to ever get elected 4 terms in a row, mostly because of his help in the recovery of the economy. It has been said that Roosevelt had several disabilities including vision impairment.
Harriet Tubman - (c. 1820 - 10 March 1913) Harriet Tubman was a slave throughout her youth, being treated as an animal until she eventually escaped captivity. When she had reached Canada she did not stay to enjoy her freedom. She returned to the lands and brought hundreds of black slaves back to safety, saving them from slavery by escaping from what they then called The Underground Railroad. After a severe wound to the head, which was inflicted by a slave owner before her escape, she became victim to vision impairment and seizures. Which did not keep her from tossing her fears aside and to keep fighting for the freedom of her people.
Louis Braille - (January 4, 1809 - January 6, 1852) Louis Braille became blind after he accidentally stabbed himself in the eye with his father's awl. He later became an inventor and designed braille writing, which enables blind people to read through feeling a series of organized bumps representing letters. This concept was beneficial to all blind people from around the world and is commonly used even today. If it were not for Louis Braille's blindness he may not have invented this method of reading and no other blind person could have enjoyed a story or been able to comprehend important paperwork.
Alec Templeton - (July 4, 1909, March 28, 1963) was a satirist and pianist who had moved from Wales to the United States where he played with several orchestras, eventually making it to his first radio performances on the Rudy Vallee Show, The Chase and Sanbourn Hour,The Magic Key and Kraft Music Hall. The way he would memorize his scripts before the show was by asking someone to read them 20 times in a row while he would listen. He was blind from birth but it did not stop him to doing what he wanted to do in the end.
Galileo Galilei - (15 February 1564 - 8 January 1642) Galileo Galilei was a Tuscan (Italian) astronomer, mathematician, physicist, and philosopher being greatly responsible for the scientific revolution. Some of his accomplishments include improvements to the telescope, accelerated motion and astronomical observations. Galileo was the first to discover the four largest satellites of Jupiter which were named the Galilean moons in his honor. Galileo had also improved compass design and eventually opposed the geocentric view. His sight started to deteriorate at the age of 68 years old and eventually leaded to complete blindness.
Andrea Bocelli - (born 22 September 1958) Andrea Bocelli had become blind at the age of 12 years old following a football accident in which he was hit in the head. At 6 years old Bocelli was taking piano lessons before also learning the saxophone and the flute. His family would always ask him to sing, bocelli once said "I don't think a singer decides to sing, it is the others who choose that you sing by their reactions". Bocelli has also sung with other great singers such as Pavarotti.
John Milton - (December 9, 1608 - November 8, 1674)John Milton was a civil servant, English poet and prose polemicist. Milton was well known through his epic poem Paradise Lost and also for his radical views on republican religion. He never was well adjusted in school and once got expelled for having a fist fight with his tutor. Eventually he began to write poetry in English, Latin and Italian. John Milton became blind at the age of 43 in 1651, and has written books containing quotes of how the experience sometimes made him miserable.
James Thurber - (December 8, 1894-November 2, 1961) James Thurber was a comedian and cartoonist most known for his contributions to New Yorker Magazine. While playing with his brothers William and Robert, William shot him in the eye with and arrow while playing a game of William Tell making him almost completely blind after the loss of an eye. At school James could not play sports with his friends due to this accident so he decided to work on his creative mind, putting his skills in writing.
Claude Monet - also known as Oscar-Claude Monet or Claude Oscar Monet (November 14, 1840 - December 5, 1926) was a founder of French impressionist painting, and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy of expressing one's perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting. The term Impressionism is derived from the title of his painting Impression, Sunrise. His popularity and fame grew. By 1907 he had painted many well-known paintings, but by then he had his first problem with his eyesight. He started to go blind. He still painted, though his eyes got worse. He wouldn't stop painting until he was nearly blind. In the last decade of his life Monet, nearly blind, painted a group of large water lily murals (Nympheas) for the Musee de l'Orangerie in Paris.
Horatio Nelson - (29 September 1758 - 21 October 1805) Horatio was a British admiral and was one of the first to go against the conventional tactics of his time by cutting through the enemy's lines in the Napoleonic Wars. Horatio became blind in one eye early in his Royal Navy career, he would use his blindness as cockiness during certain fights. In those days a retreat or surrender was shown via a system of signal flags, when friendly or enemy ships would display the flags Horatio would bring his telescope to his blind eye and say carry on with the attack, I see no signals.
 Alecia Alanzo - (born Alicia Ernestina de la Caridad Martinez Hoya; 21 Dec 1921) is a Cuban prima ballerina assoluta and choreographer. Her company became the Ballet Nacional de Cuba in 1955. She is most famous for her portrayals of Giselle and the ballet version of Carmen. From the age of 19, Alonso was afflicted with an eye condition and became partially blind. Her partners always had to be in the exact place she expected them to be, and she used lights in different parts of the stage to guide herself. Alonso danced solos in Europe and elsewhere well into her 70s. She continued to serve as the director of the Ballet Nacional de Cuba until the early 21st-century.
 Percy Wyndham Lewis - (18 November 1882 - 7 March 1957) was an English painter and author. He was a co-founder of the Vorticist movement in art, and edited the literary magazine of the Vorticists, BLAST. His novels include his pre-World War I-era novel Tarr (set in Paris), and The Human Age, a trilogy comprising The Childermass (1928), Monstre Gai and Malign Fiesta (both 1955), set in the afterworld. A fourth volume of The Human Age, The Trial of Man, was begun by Lewis but left in a fragmentary state at the time of his death. He also wrote two autobiographical volumes, Blasting and Bombardiering (1937) and Rude Assignment: A Narrative of my Career up-to-date (1950). Lewis spent World War II in the United States and Canada. Artistically the period is mainly important for the series of watercolour fantasies around the themes of creation, crucifixion and bathing that he produced in Toronto in 1941 - 42. He returned to England in 1945. By 1951, he was completely blind. In 1950 he published the autobiographical Rude Assignment, in 1951 a collection of allegorical short stories about life in "the capital of a dying empire," entitled "Rotting Hill," and in 1952 a book of essays on writers such as George Orwell, Jean-Paul Sartre and Andre Malraux, entitled "The Writer and the Absolute." This was followed by the semi-autobiograpical novel "Self Condemned" (1954), a major late statement.
 Brian McKeever - (born June 18, 1979 in Calgary, Alberta) is a Canadian cross-country skier and biathlete. In 2010, he became the first Canadian athlete to be named to both Paralympic and Olympic teams. He began skiing at the age of three and started competing at thirteen. At 19 he began losing his vision due to Stargardt's disease. At the 2002 and 2006 Winter Paralympics he competed in both cross-country skiing and biathlon. He won two gold medals and a silver in cross-country the first year and bronze medal for biathlon plus two gold medals and a silver for cross-country skiing in the later year. His older brother, Robin McKeever, competes as his guide when Brian skis in the Paralympics.
 Sabriye Tenberken - (born 1970) is a German socialworker and co-founder of the organisation Braille Without Borders. Sabriye became gradually visually impaired and completely blind by the age of thirteen due to retinal disease. She studied Central Asian Studies at Bonn University. In addition to Mongolian and modern Chinese, she studied modern and classical Tibetan in combination with Sociology and Philosophy. As no blind student had ever before ventured to enroll in this kind of studies, she could not fall back on the experience of previous students,so she developed her own methods of studying her course of studying. It was thus that a Tibetan Braille script for the blind was developed in 1992, which became the official script for the blind in Tibet. In 1997, Sabriye travelled to Tibet alone in order to assess the situation of the blind there. Returning in 1998, she founded the Centre for the Blind in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, to educate blind people. Before, the blind had not been able to attend school.
 Dr. Jacob Bolotin - (1888-1924) - The first congenitally blind man to receive a medical license. Dr. Bolotin lived and practiced in Chicago during the early part of the twentieth century and was particularly known for his expertise on diseases of the heart and lungs. He used his many public speaking engagements to advocate for the full inclusion of the blind in education, employment, and all other aspects of society. Awards named for him are presented each year by the National Federation of the Blind to individuals and organizations who have made substantial contributions toward achieving the goal of the full integration of the blind into society on the basis of equality. The awards are funded by the Alfred and Rosalind Perlman Trust, created by a bequest from Dr. Bolotin's nephew and niece. The first Dr. Jacob Bolotin Awards were presented at the 2008 convention of the National Federation of the Blind.
 Jorge Luis Borges - (24 August 1899 - 14 June 1986) Jorge Luis Borges was an Argentine writer. His output includes short stories, essays, poetry, literary criticism, and translations. Borges was born on August 24, 1899 in Buenos aires, Argentina, to an educated family descended from famous military figures in Argentina's history; in accordance with Argentine custom, he never used his entire name. His family was comfortably wealthy, but not quite wealthy enough to live in downtown Buenos Aires. Instead, they lived in the then suburb of Palermo, famous for its knife-fights, where urban space gave way to the countryside.
 Joseph Plateau - (October 14, 1801 - September 15, 1883) Joseph Plateau was a Belgian physicist. In 1836, Plateau invented an early stroboscopic device, the "phenakistiscope". It consisted of two disks, one with small equidistant radial windows, through which the viewer could look, and another containing a sequence of images. When the two disks rotated at the correct speed, the synchronization of the windows and the images created an animated effect. The projection of stroboscopic photographs, creating the illusion of motion, eventually led to the development of cinema. Fascinated by the persistence of luminous impressions on the retina, he performed an experiment in which he gazed directly into the sun for 25 seconds. Consequently, he lost his eyesight later in his life. He died in Ghent.
 Marla Runyan - (born January 4, 1969) Marla Runyan is a marathon runner who is legally blind. She is a three-time national champion in the women's 5.000 metres. Runyan's career as a world-class runner began in 1999 at the Pan American Games, where she won the 1,500-meter race. The next year, she placed eighth in the 1,500-meter in the 2000 Sydney Olympics, making Runyan the first legally blind athlete to compete in the Games and the highest finish by an American woman in that event. In 2002 she finished as the top American at the 2002 New York City Marathon with a time of 2 hours, 27 minutes and 10 seconds to post the second-fastest debut time ever by an American woman.
 Ray Charles - (September 23, 1930 - June 10, 2004) known by his stage name Ray Charles, was an American pianist and musician who shaped the sound of rhythm and blues. He brought a soulful sound to country music, pop standards, and a rendition of "America the Beautiful" that Ed Bradley of 60 Minutes called the "definitive version of the song, an American anthem. In 1965, Charles was arrested for possession of heroin, a drug to which he had been addicted for nearly 20 years. It was his third arrest for the offence, but he avoided jail time after kicking the habit in a clinic in Los Angeles. He spent a year on parole in 1966.
 Sidney Bradford - (May 30, 1906 - August 2, 1960) went blind at 10 months of age but regained sight on both eyes after a cornea transplant at the age of 52. He was the subject of many scientific studies of perception by neuropsychologist Richard Gregory. His operation was able to reveal idiosyncrasies of the human visual system. For example, not having grown up with vision, Bradford did not perceive the ambiguity of the Necker cube. Nor was he able to interpret the perspective of two-dimensional art. Nevertheless, he could accurately judge the distance to objects in the same room, having been familiar with these distances before regaining sight by virtue of having walked them. In a similar analogy between vision and sightless (touch-only) experience, Bradford was able to visually read the time on the ward clock just after his operation. Before surgery Bradford was a skilled machinist, but upon gaining vision, he became confused and unable to work. He committed suicide two years after his operation.
 Thomas Gore - (born Governor Thomas Pryor Gore on December 10, 1870 - March 16, 1949) Thomas was a Democratic politician. He became blind as a child through two separate accidents but did not give up his dream of becoming a senator. In 1907, he was elected to the Senate as one of the first two senators from the new state of Oklahoma. He was re-elected in 1908 and 1914 but defeated in 1920. He was known as a member of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, who worked with Republicans such as Robert La Follette. He was to a large extent no different from any other politician because of his blindness, but there were problems, as La Follette recounts an example in his memoirs when, during a filibuster, Gore did not realize that the senator who was to take over speaking for him had left the room, and the filibuster failed because he did not continue to speak.
 William Prescott - (February 20, 1726 - 1795) was an American colonel in the Revolutionary War who commanded the rebel forces in the Battle of Bunker Hill. Prescott became widely attributed for the famous quote, "Do not fire until you see the whites of their eyes," an important instruction to his soldiers in order to conserve ammunition. The former town of Prescott, Massachusetts, was named in his honor. The town was disincorporated in 1938 as part of the building of the Quabbin Reservoir, and the land now makes up Prescott Peninsula, which divides the main branches of the reservoir. Prescott's likeness was made into a statue for a memorial for the Battle of Bunker Hill.
 Arnolt Schlick - Arnolt was a German organist and composer of the Renaissance. Though records of his early life are sparse, most likely he was from the area around Heidelberg (based on linguistic evidence). He was blind for much of his life. Schlick is best known for his publication of the book Spiegel der Orgelmacher und Organisten in 1511, the first treatise on building and playing organs written in German. It contains ten chapters, and covers topics such as size and shape of pipes, construction of bellows, wind production, and metallurgy; in addition he covers tuning, and gives advice on how best to position the instrument in the building.
 Esref Armagan - (born 1953) Esref is a blind painter of Turkish origin. Mr. Armagan is an important figure in the history of picture-making, and in the history of knowledge. His work is remarkable. He has demonstrated for the first time that a blind person can develop on his or her own pictorial skills the equal of most depiction by the sighted. This has not happened before in the history of picture-making. He was born blind to a poor family in Turkey, and has been drawing or painting since childhood. He has had exhibitions in Turkey and in Holland and the Czech Republic. In 2004, he was the subject of a study of human perception, conducted by the psychologist John Kennedy of University of Toronto.
 Frederick Delius - (January 29, 1862 - June 10, 1934) was an English composer born in Bradford in the West Riding of Yorkshire in the north of England. Although born in England and educated at Bradford Grammar School (where the singer John Coates was his contemporary), Frederick Delius felt little attraction for the country of his birth and spent most of his life abroad, in the United States and the continent of Europe, chiefly in France. Nonetheless his music has been described as 'extremely redolent of the soil of this country [i.e. Britain] and characteristic of the finer elements of the national spirit' by Felix Aprahamian.
 John Stanley - (January 17, 1712 - May 19, 1786) John Stanley was an English composer and organist. Stanley, who was blind from an early age, studied music with Maurice Greene and held a number of organist appointments in London, such as St Andrew's, Holborn from 1726. He was a friend of George Frideric Handel, and following Handel's death, Stanley joined first with John Christopher Smith and later with Thomas Linley to continue the series of oratorio concerts Handel had established, and succeeded him as a governor of the Foundling Hospital (continuing his tradition of performing "Messiah" for them).
 Kelvin Tan Weilian - born 5 October 1981) Kelvin Tan Weilian is a visually impaired professional singer in Singapore. On 1 September 2005 he shot to prominence when he won Project SuperStar, a Mandarin singing competition hosted by Singapore's MediaCorp TV Channel U, after garnering 64% of the 533,000 telephone votes. Kelvin is proficient in both piano and the guitar, and sings in a variety of languages and dialects. In his debut concert on 22 April 2006 at the Max Pavilion in Singapore, he sang in Mandarin, English, Thai, Cantonese and Hokkien.
 Omar Abdel-Rahman - (born May 3, 1938) is a blind Egyptian Muslim leader who is currently serving a life sentence at the Butner Medical Center which is part of the Butner Federal Correctional Institution in Butner, North Carolina, United States. Formerly a resident of New York City, Abdel-Rahman and nine others were convicted of "seditious conspiracy", which requires only that a crime be planned, not that it necessarily be attempted. His prosecution grew out of investigations of the World Trade Center 1993 bombings. Abdel-Rahman was born in Egypt in 1938 and lost his eyesight at a young age due to childhood diabetes. He studied a Braille version of the Qur'an as a child and developed an interest in the works of the Islamic purists Ibn Taymiyah and Sayyid Qutb. After graduating in Qur'anic studies from Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the Egyptian government imprisoned him because he was an opponent of the regime.
 Thomas Rhodes Armitage - (1824-1890) Armitage was a British physician, founder of the Royal National Institute of the Blind. He was raised on the continent, first at Avranches, and later at Frankfurt and Offenbach. He attended the Sorbonne and later King's College, London. He became a physician, practising at the Marylebone Dispensary, in the Crimean War, and as a private consultant in London. He was forced to abandon his medical career because of declining vision, eventually becoming blind. Armitage decided to help solve the problem of making literature available to the blind through embossed type: in Britain this had become complicated by the proliferation of different standards. He formed the "British and Foreign Society for Improving the Embossed Literature of the Blind", later the "British and Foreign Blind Association for Promoting the Education and Employment of the Blind" and (after his death) the "National Institute for the Blind".
 Joseph Pulitzer - (April 10, 1847 - October 29, 1911) Joseph was a Hungarian-American publisher best known for posthumously establishing the Pulitzer Prizes (along with William Randolph Hearst) and for originating yellow journalism. In 1882 Pulitzer purchased the New York World, a newspaper that had been losing $40,000 a year, for $346,000 from Jay Gould. Pulitzer shifted its focus to human-interest stories, scandal, and sensationalism. At the age of 42 Joseph became blind due to retinal detachment leaving him no choice but to retire.
 Judy Heumann - (born 1947) is an American disability rights activist. Heumann's commitment to disability rights stems from her personal experiences, she had polio at the age of 18 months, and has spent most of her life in a wheelchair. Heumann graduated from Long Island University in 1969 and gained a Master of Science degree in public health at the University of California, Berkeley in 1975. She has been awarded honorary doctorates by Long Island University in Brooklyn, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
 Leonhard Euler - (born April 15, 1707) Leonhard was a pioneering Swiss mathematician and physicist who spent most of his life in Russia and Germany. Euler made important discoveries in fields as diverse as calculus and graph theory. He also introduced much of the modern mathematical terminology and notation, particularly for mathematical analysis, such as the notion of a mathematical function. He is also renowned for his work in mechanics, optics, and astronomy. Euler's left eye became blind from cataract and suffered from eyestrain caused by a strong fever in 1735.
 Rahsaan Roland Kirk - (August 7, 1936 - December 5, 1977) Rahsaan was an American jazz multi-instrumentalist, playing tenor saxophone, flute and other reed instruments. He was perhaps best known for his vitality on stage, where virtuoso improvisation was accompanied by comic banter, political ranting and his famous ability to play a number of instruments simultaneously. Kirk was also very political, using the stage to talk on black history, civil rights and other issues, which he was always capable of tipping over into high comedy. He went blind at an early age due to poor medical treatment.
 Tilly Aston - (December 11, 1873 - 1 November 1947) better known as Tilly Aston, was a blind Australian writer and teacher, who founded the Victorian Association of Braille Writers, and later went on to establish the Association for the Advancement of the Blind, with herself as secretary. She is remembered for her achievements in promoting the rights of vision impaired people. Aston was also a prolific writer, particularly of poetry and prose sketches, though her writing was often interrupted by her teaching and other activities.
 Doc Watson - (born March 3, 1923) Doc Watson is an American guitar player, songwriter and singer of bluegrass, folk, country, blues and gospel music. An eye infection caused Doc Watson to lose his vision before his first birthday. Despite this, he was taught by his parents to work hard and care for himself. He attended North Carolina's school for the visually impaired, The Governor Morehead School, in Raleigh NC. The first song Doc ever learned to play was "When Roses Bloom in Dixieland". His father was so proud that he took Doc to the store and bought him his first guitar, a $12 Stella. Doc proved to be a natural and within months he was busking on local street corners playing Delmore, Louvin and Monroe Brothers' duets alongside his brother Linny. By the time he reached his adult years Doc had become a prolific acoustic and electric guitar player.
 Francesco Landini - (around 1325 - September 2, 1397) Francesco Landini was an Italian composer, organist, singer, poet and instrument maker. He was one of the most famous and revered composers of the second half of the 14th century, and by far the most famous composer in Italy. According to Villani, Landini was given a crown of laurel by the King of Cyprus, who was in Venice for several periods during the 1360s. Probably Landini spent some time in northern Italy prior to 1370. Evidence in some of his music also points to this: he dedicated one motet to Andrea Contarini, who was Doge of Venice from 1368 to 1382; and in addition, his works are well-represented in northern Italian sources.
 Sue Townsend - (born April 2, 1946) is a British novelist, best known as the author of the Adrian Mole series of books. Her writing tends to combine comedy with social commentary, though she has written purely dramatic works as well. She has suffered from diabetes for many years, as a result of which she was registered blind in 2001, and has woven this theme into her work. She married a sheet-metal worker and had three children under five by the time she was 22. She joined a writers' group at the Phoenix Theatre, Leicester in her thirties.
 Bernard Morin - (born 1931) Bernard Morin is a French mathematician, especially a topologist, born in 1931, who is now retired. He has been blind since age 6, but his blindness did not prevent him from having a successful career in mathematics. Morin was a member of the group that first exhibited an eversion of the sphere, i.e. a homotopy (topological metamorphosis) which starts with a sphere and ends with the same sphere but turned inside-out. He also discovered the Morin surface, which is a half-way model for the sphere eversion, and used it to prove a lower bound on the number of steps needed to turn a sphere inside out.
 Erik Weihenmayer - born September 23, 1968 - is the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest, on May 25, 2001. Erik was born with a disease called retinoschisis and became totally blind by the age of 13. He has also completed the Seven Summits in September 2002. Erik is also an acrobatic skydiver, long distance biker, marathon runner, skier, mountaineer, ice climber, and rock climber. In 2004, he led an expedition in Tibet called Climbing Blind project, including blind teens from the Braille Without Borders school for blind at Lhasa, Tibet.
 Maria Theresa Paradis - (also von Paradies) (1759-1824) was an Austrian music performer and composer who lost her sight at an early age, and for whom Mozart may have written his Piano Concerto No. 18 in B flat major.
 Jacques Lusseyran - (1924-1971) was a blind French author and political activist. He became totally blind in a school accident at the age of 8. In the spring of 1941, at the age of 17, Lusseyran formed a Resistance group called the Volunteers of Liberty with 52 other boys. He was put in charge of recruitment. The group later merged with another Resistance group called Defense de la France.
 David Alexander Paterson - (born May 20, 1954) is an American politician and the current Governor of New York. He is the first African American governor of New York and also the second legally blind governor of any U.S. state after Bob C. Riley, who was Governor of Arkansas for eleven days in January 1975. At the age of three months, Paterson contracted an ear infection which spread to his optic nerve, leaving him with no sight in his left eye and severely limited vision in his right eye.
 Tony Max - Canadian visual artist, 1957 - He was born legally blind, with ten percent vision, because of congenital cataracts. His vision was improved by cataract surgery as a teenager, but the surgery eventually led to glaucoma and three retinal detachments. He still had significant vision impairments, but despite that, went on to become one of Canada's most famous fine artists.
 Jeff Healey - Canadian folk singer (born Norman Jeffrey Healey, March 25, 1966 - March 2, 2008) was a blind jazz, and blues-rock vocalist and guitarist who attained musical and personal popularity, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s.
 Peter White MBE - (1947) is a British broadcast journalist and DJ. He was a regular presenter on BBC Radio Solent from the station's launch in 1971 until November 2006. Blind since birth (as was his older brother), he is closely associated with disability issues. He currently presents You and Yours and In Touch on Radio 4, and regularly contributes to other science, news or educational programmes to talk about disabilities. He was made the BBC's Disability Affairs Correspondent in 1995, and wrote a column for the Guardian 'G2' magazine which appeared on 8 September 2006 and provoked many positive responses.
 Johanna "Anne" Mansfield Sullivan Macy - (April 14, 1866 - October 20, 1936), also known as Annie Sullivan, was an American teacher best known as the instructor and companion of Helen Keller. When Anne was six her mother, Alice, died; and when she was eight her father, Thomas, left, after which Anne was sent to an almshouse. In 1880 Anne was sent to the Perkins School for the Blind. Anne Sullivan is an integral character in The Miracle Worker, by William Gibson, originally produced for television, where she was portrayed by Teresa Wright. The play then moved to Broadway, and was later produced as a 1962 feature film. Both the Broadway play and 1962 film featured Anne Bancroft in the Anne Sullivan role. Patty Duke, who played Helen Keller in the 1962 film version, later played Anne Sullivan in a 1979 television remake. Alison Elliott recently portrayed her in a 2000 television movie. Alison Pill played Annie Sullivan on Broadway in the 2010 revival of The Miracle Worker, with Abigail Breslin as Helen Keller. Both Anne Bancroft and Patty Duke won Academy Awards for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress for their roles as Sullivan and Keller in the 1962 film version.
 Apl.de.ap - (Born November 28, 1974) Black Eyed Peas rapper apl.de.ap, (Allan Pineda Lindo, Jr.), is legally blind. He has been diagnosed with the disease nystagmus. apl.de.ap boasts of having overcome the condition and now being able to get up on the stage with his fellow BEP bandmates even if he can't see that well. "Until I discovered hip-hop, I felt I wasn't going to accomplish anything. When I dance, I picture myself and the floor in my head. I doubted myself for a long time. I'm comfortable not using my vision. I weave around my problems."
 Surdas - (Sant Kavi Surdas) (Dates of his date and birth are not clear) - A 15th century blind saint, poet and musician, known for his devotional songs dedicated to Lord Krishna, Surdas is a very important person in Indian history. Surdas is said to have written and composed a hundred thousand songs in his magnum opus the 'Sur Sagar' (Ocean of Melody), out of which only about 8,000 are extant. He is considered a saint and so also known as Sant Surdas, a name which literally means the "slave of melody".
 Richard H. Bernstein - (born November 9 - 1973) is an American lawyer, practicing at The Law Offices of Sam Bernstein. He also is an adjunct professor at the University of Michigan and served on the Wayne State University Board of Governors for one eight-year term, including two years as vice chair and two more as chair. Bernstein has been classified as legally blind since birth, as a result of retinitis pigmentosa. Richard Bernstein is also an avid runner and advocate for disability rights.
 Abraham Nemeth - (born October 16, 1918) is an American mathematician and inventor. He is Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the University of Detroit Mercy in Detroit, Michigan. Though his employers were sometimes reluctant to hire him knowing that he was blind, his reputation grew as it became apparent that he was a capable mathematician and teacher. He developed the Nemeth Braille Code for Mathematics and Science Notation in 1952. Nemeth Code has gone through 4 revisions since its initial development and continues in wide use today. Dr. Nemeth is also responsible for the rules of MathSpeak, a system for orally communicating mathematical text. Dr. Nemeth is an active member of the National Federation of the Blind. He has written several short stories and made speeches for the NFB about his life as a blind mathematician.
 Abdurrahman Wahid - former President of Indonesia (1940- )
 Al Hibbler
 Audre Lorde - Poet - Activist (1934 - 1992)
 Blind Lemon Jefferson - (1893 - 1929) - Blues musician & singer
 Blind Willie McTell- (1901 - 1959)
 Brandon Jardine - was stabbed in the eyes by his parents with red hot pokers in 1991.
 Clarence Carter- (born 1936)
 David Blunkett - (born 1947) - British ex-cabinet minister
 Denise Leigh - opera singer and winner of Channel 4's Operatunity
 Dorothea Lange - Photographer (1895 - 1965)
 Dr William Moon - inventor of Moon system of reading
 Eamon de Valera - (1882 - 1975) - President of Ireland.
 Eduard Degas - French painter
 Ella Fitzgerald - (1917 - 1996) - jazz singer - went blind as a result of diabetes in her old age.
 Enrico Dandolo - (died 1205) - doge of Venice - blind from trauma.
 Esmond Knight - British actor
 Fritz Lang - (1890 - 1976) - nearly blind at the end of his life
 Francisco Goya - (1746 - 1828) - painter - became blind and deaf in late life - painted blind(ed) subjects.
 Frankie Armstrong - English folk singer and voice teacher - sight degraded in late teens onwards from glaucoma
 George Shearing - (1919 - ) - jazz pianist.
 Gilbert Montagn
 Ginny Owens - Gospel singer - totally blind from age 2
 Harilyn Rousso - Disability Rights Activist/Psychotherapist (1946-)
 Henry Fawcett - UK Postmaster General - 19th Century
 Homer - Greek poet said to have been blind.
 Honor Daumier - (1808 - 1879) - French caricaturist - painter - and sculptor - blind later in life.
 Isaac the Blind - (1160 - 1235) - French cabbalist (possibly blind from birth)
 Isaac - biblical patriarch
 James Joyce - (1882 - 1941) - writer - at times blind - underwent several operations
 Jessica Callahan - singer - blind from retinopathy of prematurity
 Jhamak Ghimire - Nepalese Poet and Writer (1980)
 Joaquin Rodrigo - composer - from an illness at age three
 Johann Sebastian Bach - (1685 - 1750) - became blind in later life.
 John II of Aragon - (1397 - 1479) - able to see again after cataract surgery (couching) by Abiathar Crescas
 John Wesley Powell - Explorer - Geologist (1834 - 1902)
 Jose Feliciano - (born 1945) - blind from birth due to congenital glaucoma
 Joshua Reynolds - (1723 -1792) - British painter - blind later in life.
 Judi Chamberlin - Mental Patients' Liberation Activist (1944-)
 King John the Blind of Bohemia - (1309 - 1346)
 Mike May - (born 1954) - regained partial vision due to stem cell research.
 Ronnie Milsap
 Samson - Biblical character - blinded by the Philistines
 St. Paul - Apostle
 Stalebread Lacombe - Jazz musician - went blind in middle age
 Surdas - a Hindu poet - saint and musician of India
 Tim Cordes
 Tom Wiggins (1849 -1908)
 W.C. Handy - (1873 -1958) - Blues composer - went blind in middle age
 Wilma Mankiller - Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation (1945-)
 Zohar Sharon - blind pro golfer

View other well known and Famous People with Disabilities of different types.

NOTE: Disabled World has assembled this list from both online and offline resources. If you know of a discrepancy in this article please contact us so we can amend the entry.

Comments and Discussion

Discussion clipartHave Your Say: We welcome relevant discussions, advice, criticism and your unique insights. To ask a specific question see our Disability Q&A Community. All comments are moderated and will not appear until approved.
NOTE: We do not verify any information posted in the comment section.