Friday, May 5, 2017

The History of Presidential Eye Problems: Why 'Honest Abe' Couldn't Look You Straight in the Eye

I recently visited the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and was interested to hear an artist point out that President Lincoln had a "drifting" left eye. He had been kicked in the head by a horse when he was a child and they speculated this may have caused his lazy eye. Others have speculated that he had facial microsomia, that one side of his face, especially the orbital area was actually smaller that the other. See what you think. 

By T.P. Pearson, Macomb, IL - Carl Schurz, Reminiscences, Volume Two, McClure Publishing Co., 1907, facing p. 84, Public Domain, 


  1. Just visited the impressive Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield on Saturday, and I was curious about the left eye situation. Thank you for some insight! :)

  2. Very interesting! There's a whole tradition of looking back at historical figures to diagnose their health problems in the medical literature. I think I read somewhere that Lincoln also had terrible headaches, which some have attributed to fumes from the gas lamps they used before electricity.