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Black Grease Seems Best For Eye Glare

Better Detail, Contrast Helps Athletes See Speeding Objects
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WebMD Health News

July 14, 2003 - Baseball players had it right all along: To reduce eye glare, old-fashioned black grease works better than antiglare stickers, according to a new study.

It's an issue of seeing a speeding object, like a football or baseball, while facing the full glare of the sun or lights. Sunlight and stadium lighting can greatly impair an athlete's ability to see detail and contrast -- critical in seeing these speeding objects, writes Brian M. DeBroff, MD, an ophthalmology researcher with Yale University School of Medicine.

For years, athletes have tried black eye grease -- and, more recently, dark-colored antiglare stickers -- to reduce this irritating eye glare. But does it actually work, and if so, which works best?

In this study, researchers tested 46 students between 18 and 30 years old under natural sunlight. One-third wore black eye grease, one-third wore antiglare stickers, and the rest put only petroleum jelly on their cheekbones for comparison.

Black eye grease won out -- by roughly one level of sensitivity improvement -- over the petroleum jelly and the antiglare stickers, reports DeBroff. The mix of wax and carbon in eye black grease looks to be superior for reducing eye glare and reflected light, he says.

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