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Eye patches/pirates

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167348.  Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:32 am Reply with quote

Q: Why did so many pirates wear eye-patches?
F: Because their eyes were poked out in battles and scuffles.

A: Because they had to spend hours looking at the sea through spyglasses (watching for posssible prey or dangers) ! The muscles of a closed eye would tire rather quickly. To spare themselves the necessity of keeping an eye closed, they wore black patches on top of that eye.

167352.  Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:37 am Reply with quote

Have you got a source for that, Vitali?

167359.  Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:55 am Reply with quote

This is an old theory of mine supported by a number of ophtalmologists I've spoken with. There's nothing on the web (or in ref. literature) that disproves it.

167492.  Wed Apr 18, 2007 4:13 pm Reply with quote

And that makes it a fact?

852512.  Tue Oct 04, 2011 2:31 am Reply with quote

old thread, but I think I have another theory (that could easily be another practice, so the one to not tire the muscles could still be plausible).

In a mythbusters episode they once tested if the eyepatch could help by going into a dark room. The patch would be moved from one eye to the other. The eye accustomed to darkness would be able to see better in the dark.
Since ships in the old days surely didn't have lamps fitted, this practice would help a lot by going of the deck (bright sunlight) to below decks (darkness all around).
The mythbusters found it plausible that this was the use for the eyepatch.

hassan el kebir
852560.  Tue Oct 04, 2011 5:12 am Reply with quote

They may just have thought it made them look butch and intimidating

852634.  Tue Oct 04, 2011 9:13 am Reply with quote

Not sure about Vitali's idea of pirates spending hours constantly looking through spyglasses. Even if you're up a mast on watch, surely most of the time you need a wide field of short vision, i.e. both eyes open with no telescope, rather than a small field of long vision.

There's no point being able to see a ship from miles away if you only see it if it comes from a specific direction. You'd usually be scanning the horizon for anything that looked like it could be interesting, then use the telescope to check it out.

1058912.  Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:01 am Reply with quote

if you lost an eye, of course you wants to cover it up, and an eyepatch is not a bad way to do it.

but the advantage of having one eye covered all day long, gives that eye better night vision

of course wikipedia will tell you that:
"there is no evidence to suggest the historicity of eye patch wearing pirates before several popular novels of the 19th century"

with the advantage of night vision, it wouldnt suprise me if they wore eyepatches.
and of course to cover their missing eyes

if you want to see mythbusters eyepatch experiment:
my own brain:
<missing link>

wouldnt call neither of the answers wrong

1059137.  Wed Feb 26, 2014 2:27 pm Reply with quote

Sorry - does anyone have any evidence that pirates predominantly wore patches? No
How long does it take an eye to acclimatise to dark? Less than 10 mins.

What was the question?


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