Why Did Pirates Wear Eye Patches?

Elmira | 07 - 07 - 2020
Why Did Pirates Wear Eye Patches?

Pirates wore eye patches over one eye to see above and below the deck.

Have you ever wondered why pirates wear eye patches? Do you admire pirates with eye patches? We grew up reading storybooks or watching pirate movies. When we talk about pirates we imagine a treasure box, hat, ship with a pirate flag, and the mysterious pirates with patches over one eye.

Some people believe that pirates wear eye patches to hide their missing eye or to cover an eye that was wounded in battle. But it has nothing to do with a missing eye or injury in the eye. They wear eye patches so that they can fight and see clearly below the deck in the dark.

1. What Are Pirate Flags Called?
  • A. Jolly Roger
  • B. Skull
  • C. Ship Hunters
  • D. All the above

For Better Vision in the Dark

Jim Sheedy, a director of the Vision Performance Institute at Oregon’s Pacific University and Doctor of vision science stated in the journal Wall Street that the average human eye takes about 25 minutes to adapt fro bright light to the darkness that requires the regeneration of photopigments.

Pirates used to fight during the day as well as in the dark. So they wear an eye patch over one eye to prepare that eye to see in the dark. Whenever they go below deck they switch the eye patch to the outdoor eye and see with the eye which is prepared for low light conditions. With this practice, pirates can instantly see in the darkness.

Pirates don’t stay in one place and move from one place to another frequently. Whether it’s a night or day pirates had to be ready for anything. Sheedy says pirates “wore a patch over one eye to keep it dark-adapted outside.” Pirates should know how to navigate their vessels during day and night for survival.

Pirate Myth OR Pirate Fact?

There is no recorded historical precedent to prove the fact. Many pilots cover one eye to ensure they have both day and night vision when they operate flights.

The FAA elaborated about pilots using night vision and stated, “A pilot should close one eye when using a light to preserve some degree of night vision.”

Famous Pirates with Eye Patches

Let’s have look at the most popular pirates with eye patches in history.

  1. Edward Lowe, London
  2. Thomas Tew, Northamptonshire, England
  3. Calico Jack, London
  4. Blackbeard, Bristol, England
  5. Bartholomew Roberts, Pembrokeshire, Wales
  6. Stede Bonnet, Bridgetown, Barbados

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