How bad was John Lennon's eyesight?

John Lennon was very short-sighted but in his teens refused to wear spectacles in public.

This gave his ‘resting’ face an intimidating intensity - something that Paul McCartney noticed even before they met (‘a ted with a hard stare’). It also lead to a comical Christmas incident which Paul recounts here:

John Lennon's 'stage stare'

On stage, ‘the Lennon stare’ became a feature but in his mid twenties Lennon  'came out' about his myopia. The catalyst was a pair of spectacles required for his part in the film How I Won the War (1967). These were what the British used to call ‘NHS specs’ (state subsidised wire-framed ones with round lens).

John Lennon in How I Won the War

'NHS specs' now they became part of Lennon's earnest new image: as a socially concerned college student. In fact, ‘John Lennon glasses’ became a popular fashion feature for aspiring intellectuals..

One thing that the teenage John Lennon could never have anticipated was that his hated eyewear would end up as prize exhibit in a museum.

Why John Lennon stopped driving? A calamitous motoring tour of the Scottish Highlands.


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