The chunky glasses that Hillary Clinton wore during this week's Benghazi hearings were much more than a fashion statement. A member of her staff confirmed on Friday that the Secretary of State had to switch to specs in the aftermath of the concussion she suffered last month.
"She'll be wearing these glasses instead of her contacts for a period of time because of lingering issues stemming from her concussion," State Department spokesman Philippe Reines told ABC News. "With them on she sees just fine."
Clinton, 65, has been criticized before for wearing glasses and forgoing full makeup, but the former First Lady has said "If others want to worry about it, I let them do the worrying for a change."
"I feel so relieved to be at the stage I'm at in my life right now,"she told CNN in May, after she was taken to task for appearing at a press conference with dark-rimmed glasses on. "Because you know if I want to wear my glasses I'm wearing my glasses. If I want to wear my hair back I'm pulling my hair back. You know at some point it's just not something that deserves a lot of time and attention."
This week, the thick glasses weren't simple accessories. Clinton ended up with a concussion and a dangerous blood clot after fainting from dehydration in December; at the time, several Republican lawmakers and columnists accused her of faking her symptoms, but the glasses are proof that she's still recovering from the after effects of her head injury.
The tip off is in her left lens: It looks like the reflection of a set of window blinds, but it's a Fresnel prism, a stick-on sight aide that corrects double vision and is also used to treat weak eye muscles.
Double vision is a common side effect of a concussion, and the sight problems can last for quite a while.
"It is possible that blurred or double vision can last up to weeks and even months," Dr. James Liu, director of the Center for Skull Base and Pituitary Surgery at the Neurological Institute of New Jersey, told ABC News. "This really depends on the severity of the head injury. In cases of concussions, these symptoms are usually temporary and eventually resolve with time."
Of course, the added bonus to wearing glasses is that you can use them to drive home a point. New York Magazine ran a slideshow analyzing what Clinton might have been trying to communicate by adjusting her glasses -- we love the "Is This Dude for Real?" adjustment, which we assume was made several times while she listened to either Senator Rand Paul or Senator Ron Johnson -- and one can shoot scornful glances especially well over the rim of a pair of specs.
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