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    How myopia shaped the attitudes of Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan

    Severe myopia affected the attitudes of both Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, but in opposite ways, according to biographer Edmund Morris.

    “Since both of them became aware of their myopia in their early teens, it was obviously a formative experience for both of them,” Morris told Ophthalmology Times

    Discovering that his vision could be corrected gave Roosevelt an appreciation for fine details, and he developed a talent for remembering faces, Morris said.  Reagan, on the other hand, seemed content to view the world in broad generalities, he said.

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    Morris, who has written books about both U.S. presidents, contrasted the effects of myopia on them in the Michael F. Marmor, MD, Lecture in Ophthalmology and the Arts at the 2015 American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting.

    Theodore Roosevelt discovered his myopia at age 13 after getting his first gun and noticing his friends were shooting at targets he could not see. He mentioned the problem to his father and soon received his first pair of glasses.

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    “I had no idea how beautiful the world was until I got those spectacles,” Roosevelt wrote in his autobiography.

    The experience gave him sympathy for efforts in public schools to assist children with all kinds of physical disabilities.

    Clear vision became so important to Roosevelt that he later carried multiple pairs of spectacles with him. The pince-nez became a trademark for him.

    Roosevelt (cont.)

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