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Pirates, Eyepatches & Mythbusters[edit]

I made my first suggestions for de-emphasizing the eyepatch wearing pirate myth a week ago in the section "Any indication that sailors or pirates actually wore eyepatches?," but since this is such an extensive rewrite and re-prioritization of this page, I thought I should start a new header to discuss it. I welcome all comments, I believe in Wikipedia and don't want to step on any toes, but the lack of evidence for the association between pirates and eyepatches necessitated (IMHO) these changes. All I had time for today was changing the text and making the links work, but I want to point out that some of my footnotes read "citation needed," which is just a placeholder for citations I will insert shortly. RichardCraft (talk)

Eyepatch in Sailors section (and Pirates)[edit]

This is an excellent section, and serves as a very informative paragraph, but the grammar and sentence structure is rather sloppy. If some sentences could somehow be merged, altered, or corrected for gramamar and better flow, it would make this already informative paragraph easier to follow.

Also, it should be noted that non-stereotype pirates and privateers often did wear eyepatches for actual reasons.

We must recall the actual pirates, not the stereotypes. Treasure wasn't the onlt thing pirates were after. In many case, pirates would seize entire ships if they wanted and/or needed them. When fighting or attempting to seize another ship, shanghai a passenger, or steal items for their wealth or their country's wealth (like in privateers), it was very common to suffer severe damage in an eye. Sword or not, daggers and other pointy items can gouge an eye severely, thus disabling is ability to see. Add the fact that pirates often held their "booty" for ransom instead of killing it[1] (all the more fear), and an eye could and probably did get severely damaged in lieu of rescuing a captive. Pirates were known to strike fear into other vessals and their crew, more often with privateers to make other nations fear their homeland.

In short, the "peg legs", eye patches, hooks, ect. all served as Prosthesis for a damaged limb or other organ.

Eye patches may have served as a cover-up of a gouged eye, not just because it's ugly, but also because it would prevent any blood from flowing down their face and inhibiting their senses all the more. In piracy and sailing in general, it pays to be on alert for the unexpected. (talk) 20:01, 7 December 2008 (UTC)

  1. ^ Feldman, David. Imponderables, page 191. The Readers Digest Association, Pleasentville, Ney York.

There needs to be another source for this--Mythbusters confirmed that using an eyepatch to preserve night-vision was _possible_, but it didn't confirm it as a historical fact. Txmy (talk) 16:57, 4 October 2009 (UTC)

On the topic of eyepatches and eyesight, removed the reference to the iris on the hidden eye echoing whatever the iris on the exposed eye is doing, since irises take few seconds to adapt to lighting conditions, while the eye as a whole takes minutes to adapt from bright to dim light (10-30 min) and viceversa (on the order of 5 min). --Khondrion (talk) 03:07, 14 February 2010 (UTC)

With respect, I found this section to be misleading. This speculation about pirates and eye patches seems to me to be a merging of several fallacious lines of reasoning; using an ex-post facto explanation in a post hoc explanation which requires special pleading for pirates. This nonsensical explanation, which does not even survive logical scrutiny, has all the earmarks of an urban myth, and Wikipedia should not participate in spreading urban myths. IMHO.RichardCraft (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 21:29, 28 November 2013 (UTC)

Any indication that sailors or pirates actually wore eyepatches?[edit]

I've never seen any historical evidence that sailors or pirates wore eyepatches any more than the population at large. I had always assumed this was a Hollywood invention like peg legs and talking parrots on the shoulder.

Since this takes up an inordinate amount of the article, wouldn't it be worthwhile to put some substance behind it? Something that is, other than a misleading claim about what a TV show "proved" (they didn't prove it btw, they said its plausible but unsupported by historical evidence). —Preceding unsigned comment added by Otterfan (talkcontribs) 21:12, 8 October 2009 (UTC)

Other than Mythbusters, has there really been speculation that sailors "who often went above and below deck might have used an eye patch to keep one eye adjusted to the darkness below decks". It sounds so far fetched - as well as illogical : ships aren't that dark - that I suggest deletion. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:37, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

Even if it sounded helpful in terms of switching in between dark and light area, both pupil will adjust together even if only one is shone by light — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:18, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

Here is someone claiming to have a similar capability due to a vision defect: Pengortm (talk) 22:53, 25 November 2012 (UTC)

(Originally posted 11/21/2013, shortened on 11/28/13) Unless there is an objection, suggest deletion of the entire first and second paragraph of the section "Sailors and pilots." Alternatively, moving these two paragraphs to the end of the article, combining them, and adding a disclaimer that this is highly speculative and possibly an "urban pirate myth." Mythbusters cites no sources for this speculation within the program, and to date has rejected several respectful attempts to comment on the website for this episode, regarding the plausibility of this unsupported hypothesis (last attempted yesterday, snarkier earlier attempt follows that) verbatim text follows).

Third attempt to comment on pirate eye patch hypothesis at 2. Rich Craft says: Your comment is awaiting moderation. OK, let me give this one more try about the plausibility of pirates wearing eye patches so they have a dark adapted eye for below decks. Does anyone know the source of this myth about pirates and eye patches? I had never heard it before, but I was skeptical when I considered the following questions: 1) Why specifically pirates? If this was such an effective tactic, why didn’t all navies of the time implement this strategy? 2) What about all the other people wearing eye patches in the same era? The primary reason to wear an eye patch was to cover the loss of an eye, because it was so disfiguring (and often oozing!). Many people who never went to sea wore eye patches, and I am unaware of any reason they might do so to have the use of a dark adapted eye. 3) Is there a similar reason that other people who wore eye patches might want one eye dark adapted? Criminals of the time are often stereotyped with eye patches suggesting the loss of an eye from violence. Many people also lost eyes due to industrial accidents. 4) Does this myth suggest any reason why anyone would need to go below the main deck and have instantly dark adapted vision? It seems to me that having two useful eyes would be much more important, both for depth perception and peripheral vision in the kind of engagements that pirates would have. 5) Wouldn’t the next deck down from the main deck be very well lit, especially if it was a gun deck? Hatches built flush with the main deck or built into elevated housings, cannon ports, even deck prisms would allow plenty of light in (and allow noxious gasses from firing cannon to escape). 6) If the reason someone would have to go below the main deck is to communicate orders or assess conditions, wouldn’t this be more effectively accomplished with voice commands through a chain of command, even on a pirate ship? 7) If the reason is that this would help in attacking and boarding another ship, why would anyone abandon the high ground of the main deck to go below on a ship being attacked? This would be a tactical error, since the control of the main deck (in ambient light)provides control of the ship. The more people who can be held below decks by securing hatchways and scuttles, the more effective the attack. This eye patch hypothesis has all the earmarks of something that was simply made up by someone who associated a stereotype of pirates with a well known physiological mechanism, but I remain highly skeptical that it meets the low bar of “plausible.”

(First attempt to make entry on Mythbusters page deleted on 11/28/2103 due to repetition) RichardCraft (talk)

I didn`t bother to read every line of this because I don`t see how any of it is particularly may have already been covered but I coincidentally saw a recent reference to sailors..not just pirates...wearing eye patches because they were taking sextant readings directly into the sun before the use of modern navigational equipment and that blindness in one eye was common among does make some sense that this has something to do with the stereotype although I`m not sure what the actual purpose may have been...probably to relieve eye strain..once the sailor had lost his or her sight permanently it would have served no function. (talk) 01:25, 30 April 2015 (UTC)


I'm doing some general improvements to the article. Of course, anyone is welcome to add further changes or to revert something I have done, but please, consider not reverting everything I did before starting it clean your way. We should learn to work collaboratively.Thanks, --damiens.rf 17:29, 7 June 2011 (UTC)

Fictional eyepatch wearers[edit]

This section definitely needs cleanup. There is no justification for a complete list of fictional characters with eyepatches within this article. I see no reason why that list should exceed the length of the list of famous real people with eyepatches (which I might note makes no attempt to be complete). -- 19:17, 28 June 2007 (UTC)

This section is unencyclopedic and should be removed. (talk) 07:36, 18 September 2008 (UTC)
Agreed. Done. -- Quiddity (talk) 19:37, 31 December 2008 (UTC)
Someone else has reverted. I have no time to argue it out currently. Will leave this note to show potential for future consensus. -- Quiddity (talk) 05:05, 12 January 2009 (UTC)
I'm going to agree that the list does not serve a purpose. I would not expect to see a list of notable wearers of some item of apparel in that encyclopedia entry. Maybe if it were limited to a few characters, or those where the eye patch was important, the list would seem less useless. For one, if the character in question doesn't even have a page, they aren't important enough to warrant inclusion. The list should be, at most, as long as the non-fictional characters list. -- (talk) 21:53, 21 September 2009 (UTC)
Removed. I'll be stalking it to see if it returns. Absolutely full of nerd references, not notable characters. Patricoo (talk) 21:48, 28 December 2009 (UTC)


Sprite jokes have absolutly nothing to do in particular with eye patches in general. This does not belong here, it belongs in an article about sprites.Removed Completely

the guys in knight riderhad a patch !! 14:40, 1 March 2007 (UTC)


many medical pages link to this page, the lead image was not appropiate for this page, I deleted it. Kiatdd (talk) 06:49, 8 February 2013 (UTC)

Offensive to pirates[edit]

Why is it that you said that eyepatches worn by pirates are fictional :( ? It's offensive to pirates, or - their proper name - advantageous sailors. Anyway heres a link (talk) 09:37, 16 March 2016 (UTC)

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