An eyepatch or eye pad is a small patch that is worn in front of one eye. It may be a cloth patch attached around the head by an elastic band or by a string, or an adhesive bandage. It is often worn by people to cover a lost or injured eye, but it also has a therapeutic use in children for the treatment of amblyopia. (See orthoptics and vision therapy.) Eyepatches used to block light while sleeping are referred to as a sleep mask.
In the years before advanced medicine and surgery, eyepatches were common. They were particularly prevalent among members of dangerous occupations, such as blacksmiths who used them to cover one eye for protection from sparks while working. Sailors may have also worn them over one eye above deck and then switch it over in order to be able to see in the dark below deck.
Sailors and pilots
It has been speculated that sailors who often went above and below deck might have used an eyepatch to keep one eye adjusted to the darkness below decks. The strong sunlight while above deck on an oceangoing vessel could require minutes of adaptation to the dim lighting below deck. With virtually no light sources below deck, sailors would have to rely heavily upon their eyes to adjust. In the critical moments of modifying the rigging, navigating, and especially during battle, those minutes were too precious. A simple switch of the patch from one eye to the other might have saved time when going between decks. But however this is defined as a vision disorder known as anisocoria since for adaptation of sight it is necessary the expansion and contraction of the pupils which in a healthy individual should be equal for both eyes regardless of the difference in light receiving each, the anisocoria is caused by problems in the nervous system and because of the off chance that all pirates have experienced this problem it remains only as a myth.
It has also been speculated that covering one eye will prevent or mitigate Seasickness
Similarly, pilots at one time would also do the same, when flying at night over brightly lit cities, so that one eye could look out, and the other would be adjusted for the dim lighting of the cockpit to read unlit instruments and maps. Some military pilots have worn a lead-lined or gold-lined eyepatch, to protect against blindness in both eyes, in the event of a nuclear blast or laser weapon attack.
Eyepatches are not currently used by military personnel; modern technology has provided an array of other means to preserve and enhance night vision, including red-light and low-level white lights, and night vision devices.
Eye patching is used in the orthoptic management of children at risk of lazy eye (amblyopia), especially strabismic or anisometropic amblyopia. These conditions can cause visual suppression of the dissimilar images by the brain, resulting in blindness in an otherwise functional eye. By patching the good eye, the amblyopic eye is forced to function, causing vision to be retained.
Extraocular muscle palsy
To initially relieve double vision (diplopia) caused by an extra-ocular muscle palsy, an eye care professional may recommend using an eyepatch. This can help to relieve the dizziness, vertigo and nausea that are associated with this form of double vision.
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Eyepatches in popular culture
Many anime and manga characters are depicted wearing eyepatches, such as Badou Nails from Dogs: Bullets & Carnage, and Rikka Takanashi from Chūnibyō Demo Koi ga Shitai!, and Mei Misaki from Another and Ciel Phantomhive from "Black Butler" .
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