I have had several minutes of delight reading your comments and questions regarding my husband work and his visual impairment.
As his wife of 13 years, I think that I can clear up some of the mystery regarding his loss of sight.
Rick began loosing his sight at the age of nine due to a childhood illness. This condition is degenerative and has made some dramatic changes over the last decade. However, since Rick does not talk about it, nor does he ever mention it anywhere or anytime when he is performing, most people don't know about it. He relies on his skill with his cards to speak for his abilities. When someone is slated to introduce him as a performer or speaker, they are instructed not to "tag" him as being blind. This is true at the Magic Castle also.
That said, Rick's sight is to the point that he cannot see the cards, he does not drive (he has never been able to drive), he does not watch TV or movies, he cannot see who is in the audience, and for all of those magicians who keep trying to get him to watch you moves--he can't see what you're doing. However, he can watch your moves, akward vs smooth, and hear the sound of your cards, snap vs quiet, and by the way you move your hands, natural vs unnatural,and get a very good idea of your technique and skill level.
As for his early training--he's got some great stories to tell--Vernon, Marlo, Jennings, Skinner, Slydini, Miller, Georgio, Robinson--he's known and worked with them all!