Posted by: Bryan B. | February 19, 2012

Presidential Vision Facts

What do George Washington, Abraham Lincoln,   Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and John F. Kennedy all have in common? They were all United States Presidents who wore glasses. Many sources claim that all 43/44 presidents have  worn glasses, some more secretly than others, but there is no definitive source on the matter.

According to Health in Plain English, 3 presidents have suffered from myopia (Zachary Taylor, Theodore Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan) 3 have suffered from presbyopia (George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and John F. Kennedy), and finally 1 president suffered from hyperopia (Harry S. Truman).

  • John Adams (2nd President) – Often complained about his eyes and vision, but the doctors could never find anything wrong with his eyes. In 1811, his eyes had deteriorated so much that a pair of prescription glasses were made for him. He has also been rumor to have Graves’ disease.
  • James Buchanan (15th President) –had a couple of eye issues
    • He was nearsighted in one eye, farsighted in the other.
    • His left eye was higher in the eye socket than his right. As a result, he would often tilt his head when talking to people or closed his eye when he was reading something up close. This led to his neck getting stiff from all of the tilting.
    • He did not require glasses until his later years in life.
  • Abraham Lincoln (16th President) – Did not need reading glasses until the age of 47, when he was diagnosed with presbyopia.
  • Theodore Roosevelt (26th President) – was an avid fan of boxing. He took second place in a Harvard University boxing tournament. He would spar with others for exercise.  He did this up until 1905 when during a match he took a shot to his head that result in his retina becoming detached. This was not revealed until nearly 1920.
  • William Taft (27 th President) – While horseback riding in 1909,  a bug actually flew into his eye and caused enough damage that he could do nothing but lay in bed until the eye healed enough to put a patch over it.  In 1911, he suffered a very bad case of pink eye, which lead him to not leave his home.
  • Ronald Reagan (40th President) – His eyesight was so bad that he was rejected for service in World War I. Despite this, actually went on to play high school and  college football, and supposedly could only see a 1 yard radius around him, which lead to him frequently getting hit in the head with the ball. Later in life after getting prescription glasses, he made a comment about how he never knew that trees had leaves, because he had never seen the leaves before.
Hope you enjoyed the fun presidential optical facts and HAPPY PRESIDENT’S DAY!!


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