President Abraham Lincoln: A great man with a drifting eye

Photo of President Abraham LincolnPresident Abraham Lincoln had a rugged, somewhat homely look. Now scientists say that Lincoln’s face, which it’s said was often the brunt of ridicule, was distorted due to a medical condition called cranial facial microsomia. The result was that the left side of his face, including the eye socket, was much smaller than the right.

According to Dr. Ronald Fishman, an Ophthalmologist who led a study published in the August issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology, “Lincoln’s contemporaries noted his left eye at times drifted upward independently of his right eye.” Fishman also said that, “Lincoln noticed double vision only occasionally and it did not bother him a great deal.” The strabismus is thought to have been caused by a displaced eye muscle related to the smaller left eye socket.

Lincoln was kicked in the head by a horse when he was young, but it is not known if his facial disfigurment and strabismus were caused by that trauma, or if they were a developmental defect.

What we do know is that history tells us that our 16th president, Abraham Lincoln, was one of the most loved American presidents; yet he had a drifting eye, a misshapen face, and no formal education. Lincoln was not without his opponents. In fact opposition led to his assassination at the age of 56. But history remembers him as the president who led our country through the Civil War, stood tall against slavery, and firmly upheld that “all men are created equal;” yet was a humble man who did not consider himself better than the people he served.

Abraham Lincoln (Feb. 12, 1809 – Apr. 15, 1865) was the 16th president of the United States of America.

Lincoln’s Craniofacial Microsomia, Ronald S. Fishman, MD, Archives of Ophthalmology, August 2007.

Abraham Lincoln, Wikipedia.

Scientists on Abraham Lincoln’s Face Defect, Science QJ Net.

Photo credit: Apples 4 the Teacher

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