Why did pirates wear eye patches ?


If you grew up reading storybooks or watching movies about piracy you’ll know that besides carrying swords, two things always come up with the scum of the sea :

  • First, they are always looking for treasure.
  • Second, they wear an eye patch. But then why did pirates wear eye patches ?

As we all know, buccaneers are aggressive! Indeed, people always think that they wear eye patches to cover the injured or missing eye. But according to the new theory, maybe these parrot-friendly pirates are the pioneers of tactical technology, rather than the pioneers of treasure theft.

Why did pirates wear eye patches ?

Indeed, some historians have an interesting view that pirates wore eye patches to enhance their night vision. If you think about it, is that really the reason why these pirates wear an eye patch? Could it be a pirate disguise? Is this assumption sufficient? The answer is certainly no.

If these famous anti-heroes always wear an eye patch, it is because they have their reasons and they are numerous. But what are they? In this article, we give you all the possible reasons for this signature of the pirates.

The eye patch is the hallmark of pirates

Why pirates wear eye patches ?

Let’s do a little experiment together, shall we? Close your eyes and imagine a pirate captain or a pirate woman! What do you see? A man with long hair, a tricorn hat on his head and an eye patch over his eyes driving his pirate ship with a black flag with a skull on it. He is surrounded by his crew ready to go on a treasure hunt.

Most of the time, this is mostly what you see in movies or cartoons. Or when the school decides to have a pirate theme night. When you discover the pirate costumes for kids, you think, pirates are just like you imagined.

Did pirates have eye patches ?

There are many misconceptions about pirates, like what you imagined earlier. But what are the real stereotypes of pirates? Here are a few that you know for sure.

All the pirate ships flying the oceans have their own pirate flags, says Jolly Roger. However, the similarity of these flags lies in their colors: they are all black with a skull on top. In the old days, pirates would fly their black flag to intimidate their opponents, promising them certain death if they resisted boarding.

Black Sam Bellamy Flag

Pirates often have a parrot as a companion. As for the pirate’s hand, it is always amputated and replaced by a hook. In addition, most pirates also have a leg because of gangrene. Therefore, when he walks, he always leans on a wooden leg.

Of course, all pirates have these characteristics in common, but since our first instinct is to look at their faces, we notice an eye patch. The eye patch is sometimes the signatures of pirates.

The eye patch is a perfect accessory to hide a punctured eye

Why pirates eye patches ?

With the great success of the legend “Pirates of the Caribbean” in collaboration with Jack Sparrow, more and more boys are interested in pirates. More importantly, the pirate costume is even becoming one of the favorite costumes of children at Halloween and Carnival.

But, do you know why did pirates wear eye patches ?
Constantly searching for treasure chests, pirates plundered ships and coastal villages. During this raid, like in Pirate of the Caribbean, the pirates attacked other ships and fought mercilessly for the loot. Thus, in these battles, some pirates died, while others survived. However, the survivors had an impact on their bodies.

Why do pirates wear eye patches ?

At that time, pirates did not have medical care on the open sea and they had a very different way of life from ours. To heal the injured and end their suffering, the only thing to do is to cut off a limb.

Therefore, if the victim has a serious infection or a punctured eye that can lead to an eye infection, this must be removed quickly to prevent other parts of the body from being affected by sepsis. And many times, the buccaneers’ eyes were hit by the opponent’s pirate sword. Therefore, in order to hide the one-eyed pirate eye, pirates wear an eye patch.

Calico Jack Jolly Roger

In addition to the punctured eye, the amputation also affected the legs and arms. This is why most pirates have hooks on one hand. As for the legs, a pirate with only one leg is called a one-legged pirate.

However, it should be noted that not all pirates have lost an eye in battles with each other. Some pirates just wear this popular costume accessory as an essential part of the pirate outfit, others wear it for other reasons that have nothing to do with eye safety. Yes, if pirates wore an eye patch for eye safety, they would have worn goggles instead of a simple black cloth with an elastic thread during battle.

Wearing an eye patch intimidates the enemy

Why did pirates have eye patches ?

It is true that some pirates wear eye patches to cover ugly scars or gouged eyes. However, taking advantage of this situation, pirates also wear eye patches for one specific purpose: to intimidate the opponent. In other words, the pirate eye patch has a psychological effect on his enemies.

Therefore, in the past, having an eye patch was a huge advantage. Indeed, pirates wearing eye patches could cross ships quietly without fighting. Moreover, in those days it was wiser to avoid fighting at sea. It was impossible to find a doctor and medicine in the middle of the ocean.

Wearing an eye patch improves the pirate’s night vision

Did pirates wear eye patches to see in the dark ?

The black headband or headband, the bandana, the tricorn hat, the skull and crossbones flag, the parrot on the shoulders, a wooden leg and the pirate hook describe many characteristics of pirates. However, the next question is: Why did pirates wear eye patches ?

Do some pirates wear eye patches for purely professional purposes? When attacking in the dark or at night, is an eye that has already been put in the dark advantageous for adapting quickly to the dark? In fact, our eyes adapt easily to light, but it takes a few minutes to adapt to darkness.

Blackbeard Jolly Roger

The principle is simple. When pirates cross the light and enter the darkness, they will put the eye patch over the other eye to use the eye that has been trained to be black. Therefore, the pirates have a chance to see perfectly. This system saves them essential time in battle.

Therefore, during a boarding process, in order to chase enemies hidden in the dark deck, pirates cannot see anything in the dark. Similarly, when pirates cross the upper deck during the day, they can’t see anything. Indeed, the sun was blinding and their eyes had not yet adapted to the semi-dark state. So, although both eyes were in good condition, wearing an eye patch allowed the pirates to see clearly, whether in the dark or in the daylight.

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