July 21st, 2010
01:30 PM ET

What is Glenn Beck's eye disorder?

Fox TV personality Glenn Beck announced last week that he has an eye disorder known as macular dystrophy and  “could go blind the next year."

Beck began to cry during the speech at his “American Revival” tour in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Saturday.

“I know what my wife looks like,” he said. “I know what my children look like. I have a great imagination. I know what color looks like. But I love to read.”

Beck, 46, then joked, “I thought to myself I’m too darn lazy to learn Braille.”

He said he was having trouble focusing his eyes and went to a doctor.

Macular dystrophy can be a confusing term, because it’s used broadly and interchangeably with several diseases including macular degeneration, a common cause of blindness for Americans over the age of 60.

For someone at the age of 46, the macular dystrophy Beck referred to could be hereditary forms of retina damage, said Dr. David DiLoreto, assistant professor of ophthalmology at the University of Rochester Medical Center, who is not involved in Beck’s care.

There are several forms, including pattern dystrophy, adult vitelliform degeneration and dominant drusen.

Their symptoms are very gradual, mild and often painless. The early signs could be tiny blind spots, inability to distinguish objects at a distance or waviness in vision.

“It makes it difficult to perceive small objects such as reading,” said Dr. Mina Chung, an associate professor of ophthalmology, who researches retinal imaging and genetic eye diseases at the University of Rochester. “In early phases, it can be very mild, with trouble distinguishing fine targets. In later phases, it can cause legal blindness.”

The macula, which is the center part of the retina is damaged. Usually, macular dystrophy in adult onset cases does not cause complete blindness, but it could be “very disabling,” she said.

Macular dystrophy is rare compared with the more common macular degeneration, which affects at least one in 10 Americans over  age 65.

Scientists have yet to identify the gene behind macular dystrophy and a cure is not available.

Beck credited his religion for helping him cope. "After I stopped feeling sorry for myself, I truly came to a place which is the greatest blessing: Lord, if you need my eyes, they're yours. They were yours the whole time anyway. Thank you for letting me see as far as I have.”

soundoff (1,665 Responses)
  1. S Snell

    Talk about off track comments!! The poor guy's going blind. It's a shame. I'm sure they'll be able to help him out though. He's got plenty of dough.

    July 22, 2010 at 16:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. luvshedwig

    So Beck is going blind. Pity, too bad he's not going mute!

    July 22, 2010 at 17:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Bushwacked

    Yikes! I can't say I really knew who Beck was before reading this post (actually, I still don't). But, then again, I don't really look for other people to form my own opinion. I can say that he clearly divides people which can't be good and is probably a sign of someone with their own agenda and self interest.

    July 22, 2010 at 17:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • justamom321

      He divides people so they are not all mind-numbed robots following a clueless leader. Division is good when tyranny is present!

      December 8, 2012 at 18:51 | Report abuse |
  4. Chris, Atlantic Beach, NC

    Glenn Beck says a lot of things, but one thing everybody can agree on, the guy is an idiot. His antics speak for themselves. And his appearing on Fox News of all places should be a red flag to anybody to question his motives. Sites like http://GlennBeckIsAnIdiot.com point out his words and actions and are a service to us all.

    July 22, 2010 at 17:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. friedtoad

    The good news is Beck may be going blind. The bad news is that, we can all recall Beck's histrionics follow his surgery and, God only know how this nancy boy will wail about losing his eyesight.

    July 22, 2010 at 18:07 | Report abuse | Reply
    • justamom321

      Evil people on this blog...Oh, of course! They are CNN clones!

      December 8, 2012 at 18:53 | Report abuse |
  6. DonnaD

    If Fox doesn't have "news" then why are all of the liberals and the current Administration so worried about FOX? Why do they attack FOX and call them out at every opportunity? And yet, these same people never seem to be able to dispute the facts that are broadcast on FOX. It's all rather silly....almost like a playground argument in which one person resorts to name-calling.

    July 23, 2010 at 00:37 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Stentor

      Calling Fox a news station is like calling The National Enquirer a newspaper. They deal more with opinion, than facts or responsible journalism. The term lamestream media is some jerkoff term invented by Sarah Palin to smear any news outlet that doesn't agree with her completely cockeyed world view

      August 15, 2010 at 04:25 | Report abuse |
    • justamom321

      Have you ever seen a group of 12 year old girls gossiping and loving tearing another girl down for no reason....sound familiar?

      December 8, 2012 at 18:54 | Report abuse |
  7. Mark13

    Is there in truth no beauty? No one is more reviled than a messenger of truth.

    July 23, 2010 at 10:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. vburke

    I'd like to know what his mental disorder is.

    July 23, 2010 at 13:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. sickofitinca

    Wow, there seems to be a lot of Beck Haters out there. He appears to be doing his job and getting people thinking about the issues. I can NOT say the same for CNN, MSNBC, CBS, ABC or any of the rest of the lamestram media.

    Keep up the good work Glenn, you are one of the voices of reason in a left wing world.

    July 27, 2010 at 01:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Health

    your blog is very nice Well, it’s amazing. The miracle has been done. Well done.

    July 28, 2010 at 21:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Independent In NY

    He seems to have Cranial Dystrophy too.

    August 3, 2010 at 11:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. hope

    Mr. Beck is a Morman. He is also more self-educated then 98% percent of the responders to this article.

    August 14, 2010 at 11:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Zooompilot

      oh Morman! I thought you said Moron...okay never mind.

      August 14, 2010 at 19:52 | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      It's "more educated THAN..." Then and than have two completely different meanings. But is the type of thing I expect from his followers.

      August 15, 2010 at 10:41 | Report abuse |
  13. soft

    Idiot, macular dystrophy does not lead to total blindness. He is hysterical. Legally blind means he will have problems reading, and cannot drive. I doubt we will ever see him use a long cane. Typical news hype. This is not going to be news, macular problems are going to be prevalent with the baby boomer population aging.

    August 14, 2010 at 13:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Zooompilot

    I'm sorry to hear about this...but...when you don't use your brain, it starts shutting down parts that you don't use. Beck has been blind to the truth all his life and he was never able to "see" anyone's point-of-view but his own, so I guess his brain just gave up on him.

    August 14, 2010 at 19:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. marcia

    to all those that are glad he's losing his sight...perhaps it will be you one day!! 🙂

    August 14, 2010 at 22:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Stentor

    Actually what Glenn Beck has is technically called opteo rectitis. that's where the nerve cells in your eyes get crossed with the nerve cells in your @ss, and it gives you a $hitty outlook on life

    August 15, 2010 at 04:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Shane

    I wouldn't wish something like this on anyone. But it doesn't change the fact that he's an ignorant bigot, and a catalyst for the worst of conservatives who reared their ugly heads during the Bush administration.

    August 15, 2010 at 10:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Ingrid

    Way at the top of this comment list, somebody made fun of Beck for crying about his diagnosis. Another commenter indignantly suggested that THAT commenter would cry, too, given the same news. Well, *I* got the identical diagnosis this past January, and I was pretty bummed, but I did not cry. I did not rant and rave to anybody who would listen, just for sympathy and attention. I found the best specialist I could, and went for a comprehensive exam. So far I am hanging in there–there is no way to tell how this disease will progress, so rather than act like a baby, I choose to carry on, like the majority of people with this or any other condition whose outcome cannot be predicted.

    Glenn Beck is a whiny, hyperbolic crybaby who should keep his trap shut and suck it up. Chances are he will still be able to see most things in the coming years, except for the truth. And if he does go blind? Well, I don't give a rat's as*.

    August 16, 2010 at 13:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Damien

    As much as I disagree with Glenn Beck's politics, I really hope he doesn't lose his eyesight – I wouldn't wish that on anyone. We live in a visual society, and being able to see is a simple pleasure that a lot of us take for granted.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to him. I still won't watch his show, but I'll definitely say a prayer for him as a fellow human being, a father, and a husband.

    August 17, 2010 at 06:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. swan111

    Sorry to hear about Mr. Beck's eyes. I didn't realize he was so religious. Too bad he doesn't follow the commandment that says Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. Maybe he will find more compassion in his heart for less fortunate people now that he has a problem. I hope so then maybe he can stop being such a total dufus A hole.

    August 23, 2010 at 22:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Nanaya

    I read the numerous comments that have been posted. I can't understand why human beings must be so hateful. Every poster has a fundamental right to post whatever they choose. My question is this.

    Why does what I believe, you believe, or Mr. Beck believe, have anything to do with the fact Mr. Beck may go blind? I can honestly say that he did what the vast majority of people would do, cry, wonder why, and then accept the fact, and find solace in his beliefs. Spewing hatred towards him, simply because he believes that the current government policies and the men and women who are in charge have strayed from the fundamental beliefs of the majority?

    Mr. Beck, I will pray for you. God doesn't close one door without opening another.

    August 28, 2010 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Steel Trap

    Elephant in the room.....why isn't Glenn Beck blind now? Come on Glenn. If you take the pity points for going blind, it's only fair that you lose your eyes. That's the way the world works. You saw how quickly the media/world turned on Randy Pausch when they weren't positive that he would actually die. May 2011, familyradio.com has announced the finite end of the world. if neither one of these predictions should prove true, i might have to reconsider my faith in the religious right-wing.

    March 6, 2011 at 02:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. bj

    Mr. Beck,
    I listen to your radio show often and my prayer is that God will heal you and you will continue to see your wonderful family, and the world around you. To those who have such cruel remarks to say about this situation, you too need to pray, but for yourself that you will be able to show love and not hate..... because you, too, will have your Goliath to face one day and in advance I pray that you will be able to cope and do well. Finally, Mr. Beck , God loves you and may the best come your way.

    April 7, 2011 at 01:30 | Report abuse | Reply
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  25. travelinsally

    I can 't believe how many hateful people have posted on this blog. Where is your compassion? Regardless whether you like him or dislike him, how can you wish something like this on another human being. I sincerely hope the Good Lord above can forgive you for your lack of caring and compassion. You should be ashamed to even admit to your feelings.

    July 1, 2011 at 10:47 | Report abuse | Reply
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  28. Kris

    A lot of self righteous, self centered, callous comments. Maybe youll get to experience what he is going through with his eyes and lose your vision.

    September 29, 2016 at 19:17 | Report abuse | Reply
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