An Eye Surgery that Ruined George Frideric Handel’s Eyes

November 3, 2021

George Frideric Handel born in 1685, and he died in 1759. George Frideric Handel was a great German-English composer who became slightly blind in 1751. The eye problem affected his music career negatively. George Frideric Handel found it challenging to finish his final music piece, “Jephtha.” An eye specialist at Guy’s hospital, Samuel Sharp, informed Handel that his condition could only be rectified through surgery.

Samuel further advised Handel to accept his fate and consider working with John Stanley, a musician that was blind since childhood. However, Samuel’s words did not sit well with Handel as he did not want to accept the truth. Handel quoted the scripture about a blind man leading another and the two falling into a ditch.

George Frideric Handel goes for surgery

John Taylor, the surgeon that had operated on Johann Sebastian Bach, was called to operate Handel’s eye. Handel had an excellent reputation, so Taylor grabbed the chance knowing he could be famous after the surgery. It is worth mentioning that bad publicity does not exist. Therefore, Taylor became famous after the surgery, but Handel’s condition moved from bad to worse.

Handel is blind

Handel became blind in August 1752. Handel became helpless in daily life, but he had an amazing memory, so he continued doing and performing music. Experts report that Handel’s condition was not due to cataracts but glaucoma. But Taylor proceeded with surgery that created additional problems. Worse still, Handel called Taylor for another surgery six years later. The cataracts operation failed for a second time.

Handel suffers stroke

The eye problem made Handel suffer several strokes in his later years. The first stroke took Handel’s right hand, and the hand eventually continued being paralyzed. Handel began having disorders of the mind. Specialists say that Handel’s condition could be because of vascular disease of the brain instead of cataracts.

1 Comment

  1. Kathy

    Please continue your work. I love your history stories. KD.

    Reply

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