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13 Celebrities Who Know What It's Like to Have Keratoconus

Celebrities Who Have Keratoconus

It can be a long time before you even find other people who have keratoconus, and an even greater challenge to meet someone face to face.

Every year, it seems like more and more celebrities are talking openly and vulnerably about health issues, from rare disorders to mental health to infertility to disease. Celebrities are a huge help in getting the word out about disorders that are otherwise not talked about as much as they should be.

When you get diagnosed with something or want to learn what a loved one is dealing with, a google searching yielding pages of symptoms and treatments and medical jargon can be scary, but seeing real people talking about and living with a health problem, on the other hand, can be comforting.

Here are 13 celebrities who have opened up about their eye health issues who might just know what you're going through.

1. Stephen Curry

American professional basketball player, Stephen Curry, says he's always had issues with his eyes, but he was able to overcome those difficulties. Warriors star Stephen Curry saw a slight decline in his shooting last month and addressed the problem by starting to wear contacts.

“I had gotten so used to squinting for so long,” Curry told Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic. “It was just normal.”

Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry says contact lenses are the reason he snapped out of his post- All-Star shooting slump.

“I started wearing contacts,” Curry added. “No, I’m serious. It’s like the whole world has opened up.”

Photo: Stephen Curry (Photo by Keith Allison, CC-BY-SA)

2. Phil Sanchez

WISH-TV's news anchor, Phil Sanchez, has been battling with keratoconus for the past 10 years.

Sanchez talked about living with keratoconus and being worry about not being able to his children in News Anchor's Life With Keratoconus.

"I was struggling to see" Sanchez says "the teleprompter was blurry, my night vision was declining and sunlight became my kryptonite."

News anchor, Phil Sanchez, has been battling with keratoconus for the past 10 years.

Photo courtesy of Phil Sanchez

3. Tommy Pham

American professional baseball outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball (MLB), Thomas James Pham, has keratoconus.

According to him, it was not until he began wearing contact lenses in 2009 that he became able to track pitches to the best of his ability. He made his MLB debut on September 9, 2014.

In May 2019, Pham has auctioned both used and autographed items in support of the National Keratoconus Foundation.

American professional baseball outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball (MLB), Thomas James Pham, has keratoconus.

Photo: Tommy Pham (CC BY-SA)

4. Diamond DeShields

When Diamond DeShields is playing her best, it's a little like watching Vin Diesel hit the nitrous in a Fast and Furious movie: Everyone else on the court looks like they're in slow motion. Born on March 5, 1995, Diamond DeShields is an American professional basketball player for the Chicago Sky of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).

DeShields struggled for years with distorted vision caused by keratoconus even as she played basketball at a world-class level. She sought help for her condition at the University of Chicago Medicine and was fitted with scleral lenses. To protect her eyes and contact lenses, she debuted what has since become part of her signature look: protective sports goggles.

“Now that I’ve started wearing the glasses, I know I can go in there and not worry about getting hit, going for rebounds or attacking the rim,” DeShields said. “Sometimes the glasses get knocked off, but if I wasn’t wearing them, I wouldn’t even be involved in some of those plays.”

DeShields struggled for years with distorted vision caused by keratoconus even as she played basketball at a world-class level.

Photo: Lorie Shaull (CC BY-SA)

5. Brandon Williams

Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle, Brandon Williams, has keratoconus and was treated with corneal collagen crosslinking in 2018.

"It started to hinder my seeing the board when we went over plays, so I had to get it fixed," Williams said. "Once it starts messing with your craft, your career, you definitely have to put your attention on that before you do anything else."

Like many elite athletes, he had been able to count on near-perfect vision for most of his life. But seemingly overnight, he could not achieve this most basic of physical functions.

"I was scared," Williams acknowledged, "but also relieved that there was a treatment out there that could help me."

Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle, Brandon Williams, has keratoconus

Photo: Jeffrey Beall (CC BY)

6. Mandy Patinkin

Mandy Patinkin, American actor and comedian, also has keratoconus.

Just like many of us, Patinkin panicked once he discovered he has keratoconus, and his first question was "Am I going blind?".

Following his doctor's advice, Patinkin wore hard contacts for 15 years and had his eyes checked every 6 months. he had two corneal transplants on his right and left corneas, in 1997 and 1998, respectively.

Photo: Patinkin 2008 (PD)

7. Matthew Colwell

Australian hip hop recording artist, Matthew Colwell, better known as 360, was diagnosed with keratoconus when he was 19 years old and had a corneal graft a few years latter.

Even though he is legally blind in one eye, he hasn't lost his sense of humor and he says "I could be the first Ray Charles of rap."

Just like many of us, Patinkin panicked once he discovered he has keratoconus, and his first question was Am I going blind?

Photo: 360 at his Falling and Flying CD signing (Photo by BillyDines, Wikimedia Commons, CC-BY-SA)

8. Steven Holcomb

American bobsledder and Olympic gold medalist, Steven Holcomb, was initially diagnosed with keratoconus in 2002. Keratoconus has affected Holcomb's daily life and competitive skills and the depression took him to the point of suicide. in his autobiography, But Now I See: My Journey from Blindness to Olympic Gold, he recalled swallowing 73 pills one night that year, in an attempt to take his life.

He had corneal crosslinking and surgery to correct his vision, and a year latter, he won a gold medal in the four-man bobsled event at the 2008 Vancouver Olympics.

Holcomb was found dead in his room at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, New York, on May 6, 2017. He was 37. Apreliminary report released by the Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake, N.Y. announced the diagnosis of pulmonary congestion as a possible cause of death, with further tests still pending.

American bobsledder and Olympic gold medalist, Steven Holcomb, was initially diagnosed with keratoconus in 2002.

Photo: Steven Holcomb, 2010 Olympic Winter Games (U.S. Army photo by Tim Hipps, Public Domain.)

9. Ashton Irwin

Ashton Irwin is singer-songwriter and the drummer of 5 Seconds of Summer, an Australian pop rock band from Sydney.

He revealed in a tweet that he has keratoconus and has had a surgery in 2018.

Photo: Melissa Rose (CC BY)

10. Stephanie Slater

British swimmer, Stephanie Slater, is another gold medalist athlete in our list. Slater was born in 1991 in Preston, England and began swimming from the age of three.

She began her sporting career as an able bodied athlete, but after suffering nerve damage to her left arm she switched to parasport. In 2013, she qualified for the Swimming World Championships in Montreal.

11. Gramatik

Slovenian-American hip hop and electronic music artist, Denis Jaőarević, better known by his stage name Gramatik, has keratoonus too.

"I have moderate Keratoconus in my left eye and severe in my right. Diagnosed when I was about 11 years old around 1995." he said in a Facebook post.

12. Michaela Strachan

English television presenter, Michaela Strachan, is another celebrity who has keratoconus.

In addition to keratoconus she also had sever eczema and used to rub her eyes which cause them to became hugely swollen at times and according to her, "on one occasion they looked like giant red footballs".

Photo: Michaela Strachan (centre) (Photo by Jo Garbutt, Flickr, CC-BY)

13. August Alsina

24-year-old recording artist, August Alsina, revealed that he have keratoconus on the Angie Martinez' radio show on Power 105.1.

Keratoconus caused legal blindness in his left eye and loss of vision in his right. Alsina underwent corneal crosslinking which would hopefully prevent his vision from getting worse.

He posted a photo of himself during crosslinking on Instagram.


Do you know any other celebrity, artist, athlete... who has keratoconus?



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4 comments:

  1. Angry Joe with millions of subscribers on youtube has keratoconus.

    https://twitter.com/angryjoeshow/status/637364160242712576

    ReplyDelete
  2. This guy

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Thengummoottil ..filmmaker

    ReplyDelete