Eye Patch and Pirates? Aye!

November 01, 2018
Things changed forever after the world was introduced to the swashbuckling pirates from Treasure Island, and for good. The pre-Jack Sparrow age saw some memorable characters, and of course, the eye patch became synonymous with the pirates. But why those marauders from the sea, needed an eye patch in the first place? What was the significance of the eye patch, or was it just another fashion statement (for pirates can be fashionable too, you know!)? Let's find out.

 Although there are no historical records of pirates wearing eye patches, unlike the rich fictional realm's obsession with the trend, Rahmah ibn Jabir al-Jalahimah, the famous pirate, was the first one recorded who sported the patch. But he wore it to shield his empty socket, as he had lost the eye. That was one pirate with an eye patch. In 2007, an episode of the popular television series, MythBusters, dedicated a segment to the pirates, and they decided to test another hypothesis- that pirates covered one of their eyes in order to adapt readily to the darkness. Or simply to enhance their night vision, for it takes considerable time for an eye to acclimatize when exposed to sudden darkness, after being out in the light. And pirates being pirates, they had to be battle-ready at all times, hence the eye patch. The result of the MythBusters' experiment did not shed much light, and decided it was 'plausible' (mostly because there were no historical references to take into account), but we shall vehemently stick with it, heart, soul and eye patch! In another report first published in the Wall Street Journal quite a few years back, the director of the Vision Performance Institute at Oregon's Pacific University, Jim Sheedy, mentioned something interesting, and stated that pirates may have indeed used eye patches for adjusting to the dark, and that while eyes take a short time to adapt to light (after being out in the dark), it was not the same vice versa, as they take 25 more minutes!

So, there you have it, your answer. If you decide to become a pirate some day, make sure to wear the eye patch! You savvy?

Post Written by - Lopamudra

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