I've know photographers who have lost much of their sight, but this story is somehow more poignant:

Of all the ways to learn that your brain has suffered an "insult," as medical professionals like to call the effects of strokes, one of the oddest is to get up in the morning and discover your Toronto newspaper seemingly printed in a mix of Serbo-Croatian and Korean. When 70-year-old Howard Engel came back inside with his Globe and Mail that hot July day in 2001 and found he couldn't read his own books either, the bestselling mystery novelist headed for the hospital. Tests confirmed Engel's own assumption: stroke, left side, rear. His memory was shot -- still is, for that matter, especially for names -- and he had lost a quarter of his vision, on the upper right side. But the essence of the diagnosis was a rare and almost incomprehensible condition: alexia sine agraphia. The elegant combination of Greek and Latin words meant that while Engel could still write, he could no longer read.

(Hat tip: BookNinja.)

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.