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. jesusnagstring

    Nothing will change with Glenn. He'll just continue to turn a "blind eye" to the truth. Glenn's going blind Rush is going deaf all we need is for Sean Hannity to lose his voice then you'll have the conservative version of "see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil. I may have to start believing in miracles if this keeps up....

    July 22, 2010 at 00:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Kris

    Perhaps all the crocodile tears he has cried made God decide that loss of vision would lead him to "see the light".

    July 22, 2010 at 01:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. GW

    Its too easy to say he deserves this..like a few other bloggers have mentioned its karma. He has had a part in destroying and disrupting people lives based on hyperbole, fear and empty rhetoric. I would like to say I hope he beats it, but I dont. He deserves this plight. Now we can say Beck truly is the blind leading the blind.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Lanky48

    What did he have a hard time seeing the truth?

    Good riddance!

    July 22, 2010 at 01:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Guy Montag

    He's just trying to appear like some kind of blind, holy prophet. This is all a build up to him trying to start his own radical Christian church, which everyone will have to respect because it is a religion, even though they are calling for the execution of homosexuals and the bombing of abortion clinics. Theoretical, but far fetched?

    Not really. I hope his children go blind too.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. CooloradoKid

    oh jeez now the poor Beckster will never see the truth...

    July 22, 2010 at 01:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Ben Gleck

    Whadya know. Being a crazed moron really is bad for your health.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. mmi16

    It could be worse....he could be seeing Democrats.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Jennifer

    Pretty sure this condition is caused by continually having his head up his arse.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. samalone

    Beck is right. There is a God.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. BUTCH123

    i hope cnn sees what is going on here.-anderson, wolf, rick, campbell...pay attention! rally to the cause of the first amendment. i know you're of the liberal persuasion but this is scary. follow up on what beck reports. "faux news" is not the enemy. this administration is. question them. read aloud the entire health care/financial reform/cap and trade bills live on air. please dont let tyranny just occur without fighting it.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Jane

    As ye sow, so shall ye reap. Beck has been blind to reality for years, and now will get to experience its true meaning.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Dick Hertz

    He got hit with O'Reiley's dick.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Carla

      I think you've solved the mystery...lol...this MUST be it!

      July 22, 2010 at 10:08 | Report abuse |
  14. Sam T

    The master of hatemongers. After all his expertise in demonizing anything not regressive I have to admire Beck for his ability to EXPLOIT the regressive conservatives by being able to sell them ALL that he wants. Stupid followers eat from his hand all the nonsense he spews and are making him a millionaire by making him popular and buying all the trash he can produce.
    Thanks Beck for being such a fine actor and giving conservative idiots exactly what they want and robing them at the same time. Heck I wish I could do the same thing, sell all my nonsense and become a famous tv-host simply by selling nonsense to a willing audience.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Flashdog2

    Poetic Justice. Now if he could just get the George Wallace treatment and suffer miserably, then die.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Observer

    Fox is beating CNN in the ratings ONLY because Fox is the ONLY right-wing "news" organization. CNN has to compete with ABC, NBC, CBS, and MSNBC. If you want right-wing slanted news, there is only ONE choice.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. 4sanity

    Wait ...... he has macular degeneration i.e. can't see straight ? I could have made that diagnosis years ago. He also suffers from paranoid schizophrenia, early onset dementia and Mad Cow disease, but those are only minor ailments compared to his biggest problem: Munchhausen by proxy syndrome (with Obama in the role of the proxy). His outlandish fabrications of this country's ills and puppy dog teary eyes are attempts to elicit attention and sympathy for seeming to be an uber-super-patriot who only cares about curing this country and returning her to the pedestal of his immaculate perception.

    Please go back to your $4.75 million dollar mansion and take your time to recuperate. And do us another favor – please take Nancy Grace and the rest of the CNN Legal Entertainment team . You can leave Jeff Tobin and one or two of the other grown ups behind.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. guest

    I don't believe anything this guy says.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Heptone

    The man is metaphorically blind to so many things – the truth, science, his own ignorance – becoming literally blind is his just deserts. This man has done more to harm this country than almost anyone else I can think of (maybe not Bush and Cheney) by pandering to the very worst in the millions of ignorant branwahed rednecks in this country getting them to support and vote for those who would do them and the nation the most harm. (I refer to Conservatives of every stripe of course.)

    July 22, 2010 at 01:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Kevin

    Wow. I am amazed at the vitreal coming from these comments. Like Beck or not we have first amendement rights. I work with visually impaired people and I would not wish this on anyone, not even my liberal friends. You are talking about a political commentator who is also a husband, and father. These comments are sad and you should look into your heart before you make them. I am embarrased for you.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. guest

    Sam and where are you? Cnn

    July 22, 2010 at 01:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Flashdog2

    Poetic Justice. Now if he could get the George Wallace treatment and suffer miserably, then die.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. LeeVA

    Educate yourselves before spouting off Glenn Beck is a republican. HE'S A LIBERTARIAN. You can not be credible in other's eyes if you don't even get the basics right.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Observer


    It also wasn't widely reported that the Palm Beach Post did an exhaustive study of double-punched votes and they clearly showed that more voters wanted Al Gore than Bush. The ONLY reason Bush won the close election was the pure blind luck of whose name appeared where on the confusing "butterfly ballot". If Gores name and Bush's had been reversed on the physical ballot, Gore would have won.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Roger Dalton

    Now why couldn't he go mute instead?

    July 22, 2010 at 01:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Stacy

    Children, children if you can't say anything encouraging and nice to someone - anyone - in this situation, have the intelligence not to divulge your ignorace and classless upbringing to the world

    July 22, 2010 at 01:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. rinsac

    I've heard of Macular degeneration, my grandfather had it; but never Macular Dystrophy. Perhaps Mr. Beck is confused. I am sorry to hear this and wish nothing bad for anyone; but it might be Karma, and an opportunity to learn compassion for others. I wish him well even though he does not practice that very much.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Observer

    When he's not faking crying, Beck's act seems to be to tell his audience "Here's what I don't know" and then proving it.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. LeeVA

    It's very curious, some of your angst against Glenn Beck because he's wealthy. But what you have failed to see is that there are many of those who are progressives, like George Soros, who back many Democrats, including the ones who occupy the WH, who are playing you to the hilt. And they are much bigger fish than Glenn Beck. Just thought I'd clue you in just a bit. Perhaps you already knew that, perhaps you didn't.

    See you around, maybe in another year. I'm so thankful to God I'm not like some of you here.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. ash

    I'm sure Limpo would say it is God's punishment for refusing to see reality with the eyes God gave him.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Rolf Adams

    I already posted a comment regarding Glenn Beck and his vision situation.More than a hundred comments came in since I posted my first comment. Regarding one's vision, I cannot believe how many people cannot "see" what's going on. Ethnic groups are being pitted against eachother. Economic groups are also at "war". When people I know heard that candidate Obama said people jointly earning less than $250,000/yr. and individuals less than$125,000/yr., the lower income people rejoiced. I said, wait until the cut-offs become lower and lower. The attitude was "screw the rich". I maintained that the cut-off or the basis for being exempt from tax increases was going to get lower. Somebody has to pay for the increasing deficits. President Obama's whining about what he inherited can last just so long. Imagine a 50 year old individual still blaming his/her parents about weaknesses and failures. I have come to detest both political parties because they are composed of politicians who care just for themselves. I think that the "Obama-Pelosi" team knew from the get-go that ultimately the"" "rich""" would have tax increases to ease the deficit. They are good chess-players who plan moves way in advance. So, while we all nip at eachother, the people esconced in D.C. go about their business while we "eat" eachother. Rolf. Queens,NY.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Jason Fore

    Mr. Glen Beck,

    I'm a 31 year old struggling alcoholic with a decent career and great family. Its funny how people will turn your back when times get dark, but buddy, you are an ispiration. Dont fall for these satanic foolish people who have no hope. No im not a religious freak but someone who has the opinion that Liberals create this world to live comfortable in their own mess they call life. We know the truth and can only speak whrn we're brave. You've been and continue to do so.

    I made my bed but at least I see that I need a way out. Hope and love are far more greater than insults. Buddy, thanks for letting us see through your eyes and I hope you see light for the rest of your life.

    Jason fore

    July 22, 2010 at 01:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Sane

    Doug wrote: When has any liberal argued that Beck doesn't have a right to expressed his beliefs? I hear a lot of liberals disagreeing with (and mocking) him, but I haven't heard any calls to silence him.

    WOW! What party are you aware of that would have the right to "call for the silencing" of someone? What a scary term!

    I feel fro Glenn. He has the strength to challenge the liberal agenda in a way that is necessary. He is VERY insightful, and hated by liberals which says something right there.

    We wish you the very best Glenn. Even if you can no longer see with your eyes, may you continue to see with your spirit.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Sherry

    These people are sick. Seriously, if this is CNN's viewing audience then CNN is a magnet for nutcases.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. SuperDuper

    I used to like this guy until he turned into a freak. I shall now call him Mr. Magoo.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Caias Ward

    I know exactly what Beck's eye problem is:

    He seems to have this giant plank in it that he's not noticing when he comments about the mote in everyone else's eye.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Sandy123

    It's abhorrent for anyone to amuse in another persons degenerative condition, in this case Glenn Becks macular degeneration. It seems we have come to a time in our lives were people really are growing old and not mentally up. There seems to be a lot of mind disorders going around, mainly in the White House administration and the states coontrolled news media.

    July 22, 2010 at 01:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. JFore

    Where do all of you get your information? The media? Some guy who taught you well through a book? Have a real genuine opinion only after you see the final goal. You want to live, work, lib then die and go nowhere. Sounds like a great big bitching of a time with no goals. Have fun.

    July 22, 2010 at 02:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Phil Hroneck


    July 22, 2010 at 02:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Rob Overdijk

    I will never wish a sickness on anyone but if Beck could trade in this sickness with losing his tongue we'll all be better off.

    July 22, 2010 at 02:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. NeverMore

    well, I do think he is a jerk and a moron....Like most of the Fox News militant gun loving christians.

    But I don't wish blindness on anyone. I hope it is just one of his schemes.

    July 22, 2010 at 02:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. kindsoul

    Seriously, medical marijuana may be very helpful for this. Please look into it Glenn!

    July 22, 2010 at 02:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Mom of Three

    Will it affect his tear glands? He uses those more than his sight on the show.

    July 22, 2010 at 02:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. John

    How can anyone take what this charlatan says seriously? He is just a TV entertainer pretending to be a TV journalist. If you ignore him eventually he will go away.

    July 22, 2010 at 02:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Brian

    While I can't in all honesty say I feel sorry for him, I at least acknowledge that I SHOULD feel sorry for him. The problem is that he pays lip service to love and understanding then turns around and spews ridiculous hatefulness, exploits paranoia and facilitates pipe-dreams (to use a polite phrase: yes, I mean you, Goldline) aimed at the unbelievably credulous. I sincerely hope that this is not a publicity stunt and I wish him well in his personal life if not in his public persona. Maybe he'll be able to develop some actual humbleness rather than the transparently faux modesty he displays in public.

    July 22, 2010 at 02:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. ccm123

    I know what's wrong with him. He is bat$hit crazy!!! He is either been off the yam-yam or needs to be back on it.

    July 22, 2010 at 03:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. GianCarlo

    Wow, Karma is a bitch. How this man spews hate and lies and mention the Lord is beyond comprehension. The guy has made millions on this hate and still praise God. Is being a convert to Mormonism count, since this religion is a fake cult religion? We just hope Rush Bimbo will be next, I predict a massive heart attack for that fat pig.

    July 22, 2010 at 03:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Jayfin9

    Beck is simply doing what the American constitution enables him to do. That does not mean he deserves to lose his sight. I disagree with him and his media tactics, but in this instance I can look at him as an actual human being and feel for the guy. If what he says is true, I'll pray for him.

    As for the negative comments, if the people on here honestly feel he deserves this, or would wish something like this onto another person, then they are truly giving liberals a bad name. Is wishing misery upon Glenn Beck any different than a right wing conservative wishing American Gays a life without marriage?

    July 22, 2010 at 03:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. utahjosh

    Let's all post our favorite Beck moments: Mine is when he suggested to a female guest that she take off her clothes for him. Classic. What a guy!

    July 22, 2010 at 03:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Concerned

    Progressives is the new name for the Marxist/socialist movement today. They do not want to say it because America does not want them. Sorry. Don't fall for that trap.
    Glenn, thanks for being brave, and you don't have to stop.
    May GOD bless you and your family.

    July 22, 2010 at 03:31 | Report abuse | Reply
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