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October 25, 1971

Vincent Van Gogh And Glaucoma

JAMA. 1971;218(4):595. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03190170073026

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To the Editor.—  When you consider other liberties Van Gogh took with reality, the halos may not mean much. Any corneal clouding, such as corneal dystrophy, could have done the same thing. Van Gogh's liking for the southern parts of France did not have to be because his eyes were bad. People go to Miami Beach, Fla, in January because they like the warm sunshine, not to resolve eye problems. Gauguin liked it too, as did many other painters. As for the pupil, it tends to be dilated in angle closure glaucoma, which Van Gogh obviously did not have. He might have had an Adie's tonic pupil, but more likely the anisocoria was a slip of the brush.I think the case for glaucoma a bit weak, but I am also bothered by that "uncontroversial piece of accumulated evidence," which might have been incontrovertible, and by the loan of "credulity

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