he was blind because the only way he could make is music was the vibrations from his piano.
The website above puports to show video of Mr. Orbison without glasses. This website (oldies.about.com/od/oldieshistory/a/oldiesmyths.htm) states:
"2. Roy Orbison was blind.
The singer's odd, pasty look and huge dark glasses led many to speculate, then and now, that Roy Orbison was blind. His trademark shades never left him, but they were no stranger (or stronger) than Grandma's reading glasses.
Roy did have eyeglasses to correct his vision, but they were quite normal; en route to an Alabama concert, however, he accidentally left them on the plane. The only other pair he had were prescription sunglasses, so he wore those instead. The very next day Roy was scheduled to open up a European Beatles tour, and there was no time to go find his old pair, so the dark shades stayed on him throughout the tour. The resultant frenzy of Beatlemania ensured that the singer would be seen throughout the world in that pair; by the time he returned home, it was a trademark. Proof that Roy wasn't blind can be found in the early television performance footage that shows him wearing no glasses at all. "