1. Entertainment
Send to a Friend via Email

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Discuss in my forum

How did Ray Charles become blind?


Question: How did Ray Charles become blind?
Answer: Although the young Ray began to lose his sight at the age of five, not long after witnessing his brother's drowning, his eventual blindness by the age of seven was medical, not traumatic. Most medical experts agree glaucoma was the culprit, although growing up in Ray's time and place, not to mention economic background, no one will ever be able to say for sure.

Still, his blindness never stopped him from learning to ride a bike, play cards, use stairs, or even fly an airplane (!). Charles merely used his other senses; he judged distances by sound, and learned to sharpen his memory. He refused to use a seeing-eye dog or a cane, although he did require some help from his personal assistant on tour. Ray did, however, seem to believe that his diability exempted him from income taxes, a belief that caused him a great deal of trouble with the IRS.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.