Has there ever been a more dangerous fashion statement than an eye patch? Even if you’re wearing fuschia with a frilly bow and sandals with black socks, if you’ve got an eye patch on then people are going to give you a wide berth. Add a cutlass and a brace of pistols and no one is going to questions your badness.
Every pirate you’ve ever seen has sported an eye patch, but surely not all of them have lost an eye. So what’s the deal? Fashion statement or medical condition? Perhaps, but perhaps these seafaring men were driven by necessity. Have you ever been in a dark room and then suddenly had a window opened to the bright sun? And you’re blind. Blinking several times, you wait for the spots to fade from your eyes before attempting to move again. Imagine you’re a pirate under attack and you must race up from below deck to defend your ship. You can’t stop and wait for the dancing spots or you’re likely to get an enemy sword severing some vital body parts.
Of course there are a few drawbacks. Depth perception, not seeing what’s lurking on the covered side, and possible itchiness. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, these things do itch. I’ve had personal experience. Many many moons ago, when I was just a curious child without common sense, I made the mistake of looking directly up into a tree and got something in my eye. A trip to the doctor, a few nurses holding me down, and some dilation drops later I had me one not so awesome looking eye patch. A white cotton pad taped to my face. It itched like crazy and I couldn’t see anything, so to make me feel better my mom drew a little eyeball with eyelashes on it. Can’t say it took away the urge to scratch, but it was enough to make me feel special.
Back to the pirates. They also believed that sporting one of these bad boys helped to mitigate seasickness. Reduce the intake of stimuli of a rocking ship and swaying waves and you reduce the queasiness in your stomach. I don’t recommend trying this for car sickness unless you’re a passenger. There are enough bad drivers out there as it is.