Eye black

Eye black

Eye black is a grease applied under the eyes to reduce glare. It is often used by baseball and American football players, where sunlight or stadium lights can impair vision of an airborne ball. Traditional grease consists of beeswax, paraffin, and carbon. [cite web | title=What's That Black Grease Baseball Players Put On? | work=CNN Live at Daybreak | url=http://cnnstudentnews.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0307/15/lad.16.html | accessdate=December 28 | accessyear=2005] Patented antiglare [http://www.eyeblack.com stickers] that emulate the grease are also manufactured, sometimes with a sports team logo printed on. According to Paul Lukas of ESPN.com, the earliest known instance of a player wearing eye black is Washington Redskins fullback Andy Farkas, who apparently came up with the idea on his own in 1942. He also goes on to say that the original eye black was made from burned cork ashes.

A 2003 study by Brian DeBroff and Patricia Pahk tested whether black eye grease actually had anti-glare properties. The subjects of the study were divided into three groups: wearers of eye black, wearers of antiglare stickers, and wearers of petroleum jelly. The subjects' vision was tested using an eye chart while being exposed to natural sunlight. The study concluded that eye black reduced glare of the sun and improved contrast sensitivity, whereas commercial antiglare stickers and petroleum jelly (the control substance) were found to be ineffective. [cite journal | author=Brian M. DeBroff and Patricia J. Pahk | title=The Ability of Periorbitally Applied Antiglare Products to Improve Contrast Sensitivity in Conditions of Sunlight Exposure | journal=Archives of Ophthalmology | month=July | year=2003 | volume=121 | issue=7 | pages=997–1001 | url=http://archopht.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/121/7/997 | pmid=12860804 | doi=10.1001/archopht.121.7.997 ] A further study which set to improve DeBroff's methodology also found eye black to reduce glare from the sun, but less so in blue-eyed individuals and males. [cite journal | author=Benjamin R. Powers | title=Why Do Athletes Use Eye Black? | journal=University of New Hampshire Inquiry | year=2005 | url=http://www.unh.edu/inquiryjournal/05/articles/powers.htm]


External links

* [http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/meyeblack.html Why do athletes put that black stuff under their eyes?] at The Straight Dope, 2008-03-04.
* [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/03/sports/03eyeblack.html Some Players Use It to Cut Glare, Others to Turn Up the Spotlight]

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