©1999 RAMEY PHOTO AGENCY (310)828-3445JOHNNY CARSONFirst exclusive photos of Johnny Carson since theheart attack, walking in Malibu.5/14/1999.PR (Mega Agency TagID: MEGAR130229_3.jpg) [Photo via Mega Agency]

Johnny Carson Suffered From Rare Night Blindness With His Name

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By Favour Adegoke on January 6, 2022 at 3:30 AM EST

Johnny Carson was a legend in the TV and entertainment industry; that is a fact. He hosted The Tonight Show for over three decades and amassed millions of fans over his time on the show. This is so iconic because he did it before the rise and takeover of cable.

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With how famous he and his show were, many people and their families watched his episodes repeatedly. It slowly became almost impossible to find someone who wasn’t a fan of Carson, especially in the US. 

Carson had such a powerful impact on his viewers that his name found its way into a 1982 medical journal. A doctor had realized that several complaints of one-sided night blindness were all related and connected the cases to repeated watching of The Tonight Show. Here are more details about this fascinating case.

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The Condition Was Called Carsonogenous Monocular Nyctalopia Or Johnny Carson Night Blindness

In 1982, an addition to the “New England Journal of Medicine” detailed a particular case that a doctor had treated in which the patient had left-sided night blindness caused by leaving one eye covered while watching TV at night.

The doctor who treated the case, J.Park Biehl, MD, wrote, “Since I had the same disorder recently. I was interested in determining whether the circumstances were the same.”

He shared that the patient was a regular viewer of The Tonight Show but would watch it while lying on her front. Her positioning was such that her head would be turned to the left to watch the screen while her right would be buried in the pillow. She then realized that only her dark-adapted right eye could see properly after turning off the TV.

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Biehl concluded his report and stated that the patient was relieved when he explained the problem. As an acknowledgment of Carson and his powerful impact that could cause such a condition, the medical journal named the condition after him, calling it Carsonogenous Monocular Nyctalopia. It is now more commonly known as the Carson Night Blindness.

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People Saw Carson More Than Anyone Else In American History

Carson dominated the TV business for most of his run on The Tonight Show as he didn’t have any competition. This meant that he was all most Americans watched on TV every day. 

According to a poll by PBS in 2007, millions of Americans voted Carson as the greatest icon in television history. They also noted that his career on the show lasted 4,531 episodes and featured over 23,000 guests. They concluded that he “was seen by more people on more occasions than anyone else in American history.”

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At his peak on the show, he had a nightly audience of over 15 million viewers. This number is more than double the combined viewers of David Letterman and Jay Leno at their peak in 2012.

Carson’s final appearance as the host of The Tonight Show was on May 22, 1992, and that episode attracted almost 50 million viewers. This was the highest number the show had ever had, and it also set a record in TV history. To this day, Carson is an icon in television and an inspiration to TV personalities and entertainers. 

The Tonight Show Created A Blueprint For Talk Shows

According to Britannica, when Carson decided in the early ’70s to move The Tonight Show from its base in New York to California, most of the TV industry moved with him. That was how much power and influence he had over the industry.

Over time, he also created a format that would be used for decades after him, a talk show format that began with him coming out to a band, performing a brief monologue, then bringing on his guests for the night. By doing this, viewers and fellow entertainers soon began to consider Carson as the original king of late night. 

Carson was well recognized for his work. He won four Emmy Awards and was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He was also awarded a Kennedy Center Honor and the Presidential Medal of freedom.

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Carson Isn’t The First Entertainer With A Condition Named After Him

As crazy as it might seem, there are quite a number of conditions and disorders named after famous entertainers. One example is Fregoli syndrome, named after Leopoldo Fregoli, an Italian performer famous for his remarkable impersonation abilities.

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People called him the “man of a thousand faces” because he was able to wow his audiences with his ability to switch between impersonations and costumes within seconds. He was also so good that disorder was eventually named after him.

Fregoli syndrome is a rare disorder that inflicts delusions on people, making them believe that several different people are actually the same person who is hiding in disguise. People with this disorder believe that their family, friends, and strangers are all one person who is tormenting them in disguise. 

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