Diagnosed early in life with glaucoma, a disease that damages the eye’s optic nerve and can deteriorate vision, he was particularly susceptible to additional eye trauma as a child. Unfortunately, at the age of 12, he was hit in the head by a soccer ball—causing him to permanently lose his eyesight.

A positive outlook

“When it happened, I remember I cried bitter tears, but only for a few minutes,” he said. ”Then I put aside feelings of self-pity and began to think of life in a constructive and optimistic way.”

"The blind have a potential key to a different and much more elaborated access of the image—that is, imagination.”

Mr. Bocelli stresses that his life, and his music, are not negatively impacted by his blindness. If anything, it provides him with a complex and nuanced view of the world.

Mr. Bocelli’s foundation, the Andrea Bocelli Foundation, is currently collaborating with researchers at MIT for the Fifth Sense Project, an initiative that aims to provide the visually impaired with wearable devices to improve, or even restore, sight.

“Our duty is to find solutions for new generations, hoping to succeed in improving young people’s lives, as well as to try to give our contribution in building a better world,” he said.

While he is passionate about the program, he does not intend to use it for himself. Despite his blindness, Mr. Bocelli considers his life full and would not change a thing.

“‘Image’ is also a word of everyday life among the blind,” said Mr. Bocelli. “It is not necessarily connected to sight, but is the result of a sequence of information, a cognitive interpretation of a space. The blind have a potential key to a different and much more elaborated access of the image—that is, imagination.”