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Anchor, television host and 60 MINUTES contributor Anderson Cooper discussed his temporary blindness, CNN and reporting in danger zones in an interview with co-hosts Charlie Rose, Gayle King and Norah O'Donnell that was broadcast live today, Dec. 6, 2012, on CBS THIS MORNING on the CBS Television Network (7:00 AM – 9:00 AM). Check out the interview in its entirety below!
Below are excerpts from the interview:
KING: Your life is never dull. Anderson Cooper, I saw the picture that you tweeted. That was very scary stuff. What exactly happened to you?
COOPER: I was on an assignment for 60 MINUTES and I was in Portugal in a beautiful spot doing a story on the water, and it was a very windy day. I was only on the water for like two hours. It was an overcast day and I burned my eyeballs. I didn't even know think was possible, but I woke up that night, like, eight hours later with excruciating pain and I couldn't see, and-
KING: Is it because your eyes are blue? I'm not trying to be funny, I heard it happens-
COOPER: I read people with lighter eyes have a greater issue with this, but you can burn your eyes just like you can burn your skin.
ROSE: But what do you do to burn your eyeballs?
COOPER: I don't know. I don't think I did anything different. I was on a crew team in college, I was on the water every single day of my life. I don't know if it's because I'm older. The doctor said because it was windy that it might have had something to do with it. UV light bouncing off water, same thing that happens to people, like snow blindness. People on snow, sometimes this happens, and it burns your eyeballs, and it feels like, I mean, I didn't know what it was for hours. It feels like you have sand in your eyes. That's what I thought I had.
KING: Did you see your career flash before your eyes?
COOPER: I did. Literally it was in the middle of the night I woke up with this excruciating pain, and I couldn't see and I'm thinking, Jeff Zucker has just taken over CNN. I haven't even met with the guy. I'm going to be blind. How am I going to adapt? At like, 1:00 AM, you know-your mind starts to play tricks with you.
ROSE: It's much tougher to dodge bullets when you're blind.
COOPER: Yeah. And I literally could not see my hand in front of my face.
KING: Did you have on sunglasses?
COOPER: No. I don't like wearing sunglasses. That's the thing. So now I have to wear sunglasses all the time.
KING: Small price to pay.