Paul talks about suffering from a “thorn in the flesh.” Maybe he had trouble with his eyes.
but you know that it was because of a bodily illness that I preached the gospel to you the first time; and that which was a trial to you in my bodily condition you did not despise or loathe, but you received me as an angel of God, as Christ Jesus Himself. Where then is that sense of blessing you had? For I bear you witness that, if possible, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. (Galatians 4:14-16)
Paul says that he preached the gospel because of a bodily illness. In Acts 9 we learn about Saul’s epiphany, where he encounters Jesus on the road to Damascus.
Suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; and he fell to the ground… Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight.
Ananias visits Saul and lays hands on him.
And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized; and he took food and was strengthened. Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”
It was because of his blinding encounter that Saul could see Jesus — nobody else who accompanied Saul on the road that day was blinded or could see Jesus. And certainly it was because of his mystical vision that Saul (who at some point and for some reason changed his name to Paul) began preaching the Gospel. Maybe Paul never fully regained his sight, even after Ananias healed him. Maybe his limited earthly vision enhanced his “second sight,” enabling him to envision Christ more clearly during his ministry. Because of his impaired vision Paul found it difficult to get around in the world, so he always had to rely on others to help him. The Galatians didn’t despise Paul for it; they would gladly have given him their own eyes.
I’m not strongly invested in this theory, and it’s not all that important. What do you think though?