By the time he was 7 years old, Charles was fully blind. While it was never confirmed by the music legend himself, many believe that Charles’ blindness was caused by untreated glaucoma. Charles grew up in poverty without access to treatment that could have slowed down his vision loss.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmologists, only about half of Americans who have glaucoma actually know it. When it comes to childhood glaucoma, surgery can often help correct the structural defects of the eye. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, one common treatment option for childhood glaucoma is filtering microsurgery, which involves making a new drainage hole for fluid to leave the eye.