“Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you got 'til it's gone,” Joni Mitchell once famously crooned. Six-time MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez knows that lesson all too well. Like any athlete, vision is key for a motorcycle racer. Judging braking distances, corner radii, and overtakes all require clear eyesight—something Marquez lost three times throughout his acclaimed career.
Marquez’s first experience with diplopia (double vision) occurred following a crash during the 2011 Moto2 season. As an 18-year-old rider (at the time), Marquez overcame the condition and seized the Moto2 World Championship the very next season. Nearly 10 years passed before Marquez battled the condition again, with a motocross training crash leading to a diplopia diagnosis in November, 2021. The condition returned yet again after a vicious high-side crash at the 2022 Indonesian Grand Prix.
While the 29-year-old rider’s symptoms eventually subsided, he knows just how significant eyesight is on a daily basis.
“When I had diplopia, not only could I not compete, but I wasn't even autonomous. I couldn't get around by car and depended on others; I couldn't read with both eyes open,” revealed Marquez. “The shoulder wound hurts, but sometimes you can forget about it. Instead, when you see double you can't forget it all day, only when you sleep. Sight is a precious gift and, after all the vision problems I've had, I appreciate it even more.”
Due to Marquez’s recent diplopia difficulties, the rider's doctor, Bernardo Sánchez Dalmau, along with Jorge Peraza, Alfredo Adán, and Josep M. Campistol invited him to a Learn for Sight charity presentation in Barcelona, Spain.
The Haiti-based organization aims to improve the eye health of the island nation’s nearly 12,000,000 inhabitants. With just 30 ophthalmologists serving the population, more than 100,000 citizens suffer from blindness that could have been cured with proper early treatment.
To aid those efforts, the Honda Repsol rider donated €100,000 (~$106,000 USD) to Learn for Sight.
“I will always be grateful to Hospital Clínic for all the help I received with my eyes, which is why I have complete trust in them,” Marquez admitted. “When they asked me if I wanted to join this cooperation project, I didn't hesitate for a moment.”