Famous Blind and Vision Impaired Persons
Synopsis: A list of famous and well known sight impaired people who are or were blind or blind in one eye. 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. Access technology such as screen reading software enable the blind to use mainstream computer applications including the Internet.
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.
Perhaps the most well known blind person was Helen Adams Keller (fig. 1), (June 27, 1880 - June 1, 1968), an American author, political activist, and lecturer. Helen Keller was the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree. A prolific author, Keller was well-traveled and outspoken in her convictions.
A member of the Socialist Party of America and the Industrial Workers of the World, she campaigned for women's suffrage, labor rights, socialism, antimilitarism, and other similar causes. Helen Keller went on to become a world-famous speaker and author.
She was an advocate for people with disabilities, and numerous other causes. The Deaf community was widely impacted by her. She traveled to twenty-five different countries giving motivational speeches about Deaf people's conditions. She was a suffragette, pacifist, radical socialist, and birth control supporter.
Listed below are other 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
- Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz - Grand mufti of Saudi Arabia (1993-1999).
- Abdurrahman Wahid - Otherwise known as Gusdur - 4th president of Indonesia.
- Abraham Nemeth - Developed Nemeth Braille for blind students in science and math.
- Akbar Khan - Singer, Composer, Writer and a Banker honored with National Award in 1989, Rajasthan, India.
- Al Hibbler - Jazz pop vocalist.
- Aldous Huxley - British philosophical writer, partially blind.
- Amy Bower - American oceanographer.
- Andrea Bocelli - Operatic pop singer.
- Anthony Clarke - World class Judoka.
- Art Tatum - Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame, partial sight in one eye.
- Ashish Goyal - First blind trader in finance.
- Béla the Blind - 12th century King of Hungary.
- Belo Cipriani - Latino writer, blind at the age of 26.
- Beno Zephine N L - Indian Foreign Service officer.
- Bernard Morin - Topologist from France.
- Bertha Tammelin - Swedish actress, operatic mezzo-soprano, pianist, composer and drama teacher.
- Blind Alfred Reed - American folk, country, and old-time musician and singer-songwriter.
- Blind Blake - American blues and ragtime singer and guitarist.
- Blind Boy Fuller - Blues guitarist and vocalist.
- Blind James Campbell - American blues singer and guitarist.
- Blind Joe Reynolds - American singer-songwriter and blues guitarist.
- Blind Joe Taggart - American country blues and gospel singer and guitarist who recorded in the 1920s and 1930s.
- Blind John Davis - American blues and boogie-woogie pianist and singer.
- Blind Lemon Jefferson - Father of the Texas Blues.
- Blind Leroy Garnett - American boogie-woogie and ragtime pianist and songwriter.
- Blind Mississippi Morris - American blues musician.
- Blind Roosevelt Graves - American blues guitarist and singer, who recorded both sacred and secular music in the 1920s and 1930s.
- Blind Tom Wiggins - American pianist and composer, he had numerous original compositions published and had a lengthy and largely successful performing career.
- Blind Willie Johnson - Slide guitarist who's been termed "influential" and "the apogee" for the instrument.
- Blind Willie McTell - Blues guitarist.
- Blind Willie Walker - American Piedmont blues guitarist and singer.
- Bob C. Riley - Acting governor of Arkansas.
- Callan Mulvey - An actor seen in various series as Rush and in movies like Batman Vs Superman.
- Cary Supalo - American chemist who invented the Sci-Voice Talking Labquest and founded boutique STEM accessibility consulting firm Independence Science.
- Casey Harris - Keyboardist of X Ambassadors.
- Cedric Jones - American football player, blind in one eye.
- Charlotta Seuerling - Swedish concert singer.
- Chen Guangcheng - Lawyer and Ramon Magsaysay Award winner was imprisoned in China on 22 April 2012, Chen escaped from house arrest.
- Chris Holmes - Won multiple Paralympic gold medals for swimming.
- Christine Hà - Winner of MasterChef USA 2012.
- Colin Low, Baron Low of Dalston - Member of the British House of Lords.
- Crazzy Steve - Professional Wrestler signed to Impact Wrestling.
- Cyrus Habib - 16th Lieutenant Governor of Washington.
- Dana Elcar - Played Peter Thornton (MacGyver).
- David Blunkett - Labour Party (UK) politician, former cabinet minister, and Member of Parliament.
- David Paterson - Governor of New York.
- Delta Blind Billy - An American Delta blues artist and outlaw/.
- Diana Gurtskaya - Pop singer from the ex-Soviet country of Georgia.
- Diane Schuur - Grammy winning jazz singer.
- Didymus the Blind - Dean of the Theological School of Alexandria.
- Didymus the Blind - Ecclesiastical writer of Alexandria.
- Doc Watson - Guitarist in several genres.
- Doug Spade - Member of the Michigan House of Representatives.
- Dr. Satish Amarnath - Indian medical microbiologist who became totally blind after an acid attack.
- Ed Haley - Appalachian old-time fiddler.
- Ed Lucas - Sports writer.
- Ed Walker - Lifelong radio show host/humorist, Washington, DC.
- Enrico Dandolo - 12th and 13th century 42nd Doge of Venice.
- Erik Weihenmayer - First blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
- Esref Armagan - Turkish painter, born blind.
- Fanny Crosby - Christian hymn writer.
- Five Blind Boys of Mississippi - The original line-up of this gospel group was blind, some later members were not.
- Floyd Morris, President of the Senate of Jamaica.
- François Huber - Swiss naturalist who made fundamental contributions to melittology.
- Francesco Landini - 14th century Italian composer and organist.
- Francis Joseph Campbell - Anti-slavery campaigner and co-founder of the Royal National College for the Blind.
- Frankie Paul - Jamaican dancehall reggae musician.
- Garret Barry - An Irish uilleann piper, among the most famous players of the 19th century.
- Gary O'Donoghue - Political correspondent for the BBC.
- Geerat J. Vermeij - Dutch-born American evolutionary biologist and paleontologist who went blind at the age of three.
- Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu - Indigenous Australian singer-songwriter.
- George May, 1st Baron May - Member of the British House of Lords.
- George Shearing - British jazz pianist.
- George V of Hanover - King of Hanover in the 19th century (1819).
- Geraldine Lawhorn - One-woman show performer in New York City.
- Ginny Owens - American contemporary Christian music singer, songwriter, author and blogger.
- Gustaf Dalén - Swedish inventor and Nobel Prize winner, who continued to make inventions and lead his company after being blinded in an accident.
- Haben Girma - Disability rights advocate, first deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School.
- Heather Hutchison - Pop singer.
- Helen Keller - American deaf-blind writer, lecturer, and communist activist.
- Helen Keller - American writer who was both blind and deaf.
- Helmut Walcha - German organist, who recorded the complete organ works of Bach.
- Henry Caldera - Sri Lankan singer/songwriter, blind since age 14.
- Henry Fawcett - Member of Parliament and Postmaster General of the United Kingdom.
- Henry Wanyoike - Long-distance runner with 95% vision loss.
- Homer - Ancient Greek orator of the epic poems Iliad and Odyssey. According to legend, he was blind either at birth or due to disease or injury.
- Ian Fraser, Baron Fraser of Lonsdale - MP for St Pancras North for eleven non-consecutive years, blinded in World War I.
- Jack Birkett - Also known as "Orlando" and "The Incredible Orlando"; camp actor, dancer, mime.
- Jack Vance - American fantasy writer.
- Jacob Bolotin - World's first totally blind physician fully licensed to practice medicine.
- Jacques Lusseyran - French author and political activist during World War II.
- Jake Peavy - Former Major League Baseball pitcher.
- James Holman - British man known as the "Blind Traveler".
- James Jerpe - Sports writer.
- Jay Owens - American electric blues and soul blues guitarist, singer and songwriter.
- Jeff Healey - Blues-rock guitarist and vocalist.
- Jerron "Blind Boy" Paxton - American blues and jazz vocalist and multi-instrumentalist.
- Joaquín Rodrigo - Spanish composer and pianist.
- Joe Mooney - American jazz and pop accordionist, organist, and vocalist.
- John Bramblitt - American painter & writer, lost sight in 2001, paints realistically through touch techniques with intense color.
- John Lee Clark - American deafblind poet.
- John Metcalf.
- John Milton - Poet who was blind for the last 22 years of life.
- John of Bohemia - King of Bohemia, died at the Battle of Crécy (1346).
- Jorge Luis Borges - Argentine writer blind in later part of his career.
- José Feliciano - Grammy Award-winner.
- Joséphine Boulay - French organist and composer.
- Joseph Plateau - Physicist who went blind at forty-two when he gazed too long at the sun.
- Joshua Miele - American adaptive technology designer.
- Juan Carlos González Leiva - Cuban lawyer, who founded the Fraternity of the Independent Blind of Cuba and the Cuban Foundation of Human Rights.
- Judy Castle Scott - Blind advocate and activist in the field of vision loss.
- Keith Salmon - English painter & sculptor, blind through diabetes retinopathy.
- Kenneth Jernigan - Long-time leader of the National Federation of the Blind.
- Kent Cullers - American astronomer.
- Kimio Eto - Japanese blind musician who played the koto.
- Kristen Cox - Cabinet secretary in Utah and Maryland.
- Lachi - Visually impaired Nigerian American singer-songwriter, pianist and composer out of New York City.
- Lennie Tristano - Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame, critics choice.
- Leonhard Euler - Swiss mathematician and physicist who went almost totally blind at fifty-nine.
- Lev Pontryagin - Soviet mathematician who went blind at fourteen. He continued mathematical study with the help of his mother Tatyana Andreevna, and made major discoveries in a number of fields of mathematics.
- Lisa Banta - Goalball player.
- Louis Braille - Known for Braille.
- Louis the Blind - 10th century European king, blinded after being captured.
- Lutgardis - Catholic saint, blind in the last 11 years of her life.
- Mélanie de Salignac.
- Marilee Talkington - A low vision actress and activist with a retinal disease who starred in See, NCIS, and New Amsterdam.
- Marla Runyan - Legally blind Olympic and Paralympic runner.
- Mary Ingalls - Sister of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author.
- Masood Jan - Blind cricketer, holds the record for highest individual score in a Blind ODI.
- Matthew A. Dunn - Member of the United States House of Representatives.
- Miles Hilton-Barber - British traveler and climber.
- Mona Minkara - American chemist.
- Moondog - Outsider musician born "Louis Thomas Hardin.".
- Morrison Heady - Deafblind author and inventor.
- Muhammad Akram - Blind cricketer, holds the record for highest individual score in a Blind T20I.
- Nicholas Saunderson - English mathematician who went blind at the age of twelve months, held in high esteem by Isaac Newton.
- Nikolai Ostrovsky - Soviet socialist realist writer.
- Ostap Veresai - Noted kobzar.
- Pacificus of San Severino - Franciscan visionary.
- Patrick Henry Hughes - Multi instrumental musician, recipient of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
- Paul Pena - American blues musician and throat singer.
- Pearly Brown - American gospel blues singer and guitarist, known primarily as a street performer.
- Rachael Leahcar - Australian pop singer and songwriter, born with retinitis pigmentosa and is legally blind.
- Rahsaan Roland Kirk - Jazz multi-instrumentalist.
- Raul Midón - Singer-songwriter.
- Ravindra Jain - Indian poet and musician, composed several Hindi film songs in 1970s and 1980s.
- Ray Charles - Pianist and singer inducted to varied halls of fame.
- Reverend Gary Davis - Gospel blues guitarist.
- Richard H. Bernstein - Elected to Wayne State University Board of Governors in Michigan.
- Richard Turner - Close-up card magician.
- Ricky Boon - Former guitarist of Australian thrash metal band Fury.
- Robert Mahoney - First blind member of the Michigan House of Representatives.
- Robin Millar - Record producer, Businessman and philanthropist.
- Ronnie Milsap - Country and pop singer.
- Ross Minor - Accessibility content creator, shooting survivor, para swimmer.
- Rudolf Braun - Composer and organist.
- Russell Redenbaugh - Blinded as a teenager, graduated from Wharton with an MBA, Self-Made Wall Street and Silicon Valley Millionaire, BBJ Black Belt Three Time Masters Champion.
- S. Robert Morgan - A recurring role in The Wire.
- Sabriye Tenberken - Braille Without Borders co-founder.
- Saima Saleem - Pakistani Diplomat.
- Shekhar Naik - Blind cricketer.
- Shelley Davis - American lawyer and labor advocate.
- Sonny Terry - American Piedmont blues and folk musician.
- Srikant Bolla - Founder and CEO of Bollant Industries.
- Stevie Wonder - Singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee.
- Suranga Sampath - Blind cricketer.
- Surdas - Hindu saint, devotional poet and singer who lived during reign of king Akbar (1542-1606).
- T. V. Raman.
- Taha Hussein - Egyptian writer and intellectual who became blind at the age of three.
- Takeichi Nishi - Colonel in the Imperial Japanese Army During World War II. Commander of the 26th Tank Regiment in the Battle of Iwo Jima.
- Terri Gibbs - Country music singer and musician.
- Terry Kelly - Canadian singer.
- The Blind Boys of Alabama - Gospel group.
- Thomas D. Schall - US Senator from Minnesota, blinded by an electrical shock before his time in office.
- Thomas Gore - US Senator.
- Tiffany Brar - Social activist, who founded the Jyothirgamaya Foundation, which empowers the blind in all spheres of life.
- Tilly Aston - Founder of the Victorian Association of Braille Writers..
- Tim Cordes - American physician.
- Tofiri Kibuuka - Ugandan-Norwegian athlete. One of the first three blind people to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro (along with John Opio and Lawrence Sserwambala). First African competitor at the Winter Paralympic Games.
- Tom Sullivan - American musician, author and motivational speaker. The 1982 film If You Could See What I Hear is based on his autobiography.
- Tommy Edison - Person known as the "Blind Film Critic".
- Trischa Zorn - Swimmer who's the most successful athlete in the history of the Paralympic Games.
- Tsutomu Aragaki - Japanese tenor, blind from just after birth.
- Turlough O'Carolan - Harper and composer blinded by smallpox.
- Vasily II of Russia - 15th century Grand Prince of Moscow.
- Ved Mehta - Indian/American writer who was born in Lahore (now a Pakistani city) to a Hindu family.
- Wanda Díaz-Merced - American astrophysicist.
- Yousaf Saleem - Pakistani jurist.
- Yuriy Shukhevych - People's Deputy of Ukraine, former head of Ukrainian National Assembly - Ukrainian National Self Defence.
- Zeeshan Abbasi - Blind cricketer.
- Zohar Sharon - Blind golfer.
NOTE: If you know of a discrepancy in this list please contact us so we can amend the entry.
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Disabled World is an independent disability community founded in 2004 to provide disability news and information to people with disabilities, seniors, their family and/or carers. See our homepage for informative reviews, exclusive stories and how-tos. You can connect with us on social media such as X.com and our Facebook page.
Disabled World provides general information only. The materials presented are never meant to substitute for qualified professional medical care, nor should they be construed as such. Funding is derived from advertisements or referral programs. Any 3rd party offering or advertising does not constitute an endorsement.