Sidney Bradford

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Sidney Bradford (30 May 1906 – 2 August 1960) went blind at 10 months of age, but regained sight on both eyes after a cornea transplant at the age of 52. He was the subject of many scientific studies of perception by neuropsychologist Richard Gregory.[1]

His operation was able to reveal idiosyncrasies of the human visual system. For example, not having grown up with vision, Bradford did not perceive the ambiguity of the Necker cube, nor was he able to interpret the perspective of two-dimensional art.

Nevertheless, he could accurately judge the distance to objects in the same room, having been familiar with these distances before regaining sight by virtue of having walked them. In a similar analogy between vision and sightless (touch-only) experience, Bradford was able to visually read the time on the ward clock just after his operation.

Intoxicated with a new world of colour and motion, Bradford became terrified of the sights that he could not, in many cases, understand. He could not recognise humans, or many items he had perceived only by touch.

Before surgery Bradford was a machinist, but even after acquiring vision preferred working with his eyes closed to identify tools. He died two years after his operation due to a prolonged period of ill health, with no specific cause of death noted.[2][3][4]


  1. ^ Recovery from Early Blindness (PDF) from Richard Gregory's website
  2. ^ Bellows, Alan (2009). Alien Hand Syndrome: And Other Too-Weird-Not-To-Be-True Stories. Workman Publishing. pp. 209–212. ISBN 9780761152255. 
  3. ^ Pendergrast, Mark (2004). Mirror, Mirror: A History of the Human Love Affair With Reflection. Basic Books. p. 336. ISBN 9780465054718. 
  4. ^ "Health Check". 6 September 2010. BBC World Service.  Missing or empty |series= (help)

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