Source: ESPN

Super Bowl Sunday: Why do some football players wear black under their eyes?

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This post was written by one of our new bloggers, Kayla Block, who works in the Product Management Department at Eyefinity.

Did you ever wonder about the “eye black” that football players wear under their eyes? It’s either a paraffin-based greasepaint or an adhesive strip that’s believed to cut down on glare caused by the sun or stadium lighting.  Babe Ruth may have been the first athlete to wear eye black all the way back in the 1930’s. Rumor has it that his eye black was made from burned cork.

The eye black makes football players look warrior-like and tough, but I was curious to find out if this tradition has any scientific evidence behind it with Super Bowl coming up.  In 2003, two researchers named Brian DeBroff and Patricia Pahk decided to study this very question. They gave several participants eye tests, while each of them wore either eye black grease, anti-glare strips or clear petroleum jelly, to see whether they had differences in visual acuity in sunlight. The researchers discovered grease slightly improved sun glare, while the strips and petroleum jelly didn’t have an effect. Another researcher named Benjamin Powers followed up in 2005 with more robust research methods. He found that eye black only helped females, not males, and it didn’t help females with blue eyes!

The verdict is still out on it’s actual effectiveness, but many players still sport eye black for looks. You must admit it does make football players look more powerful! Enjoy your Super Bowl Sunday!


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