Leonardo da Vinci’s greatness due to an eye disorder?

Perhaps if Leonardo da Vinci had access to a good eye doctor, his great skill as an artist may have never developed and the world may have never known his name.

A recent examination of da Vinci’s artistic works shed some light on the possibility that the great artist suffered from an eye disorder known as intermittent exotropia. Exotropia is a misalignment of  the eyes with one eye turning slightly outward.

Exotropia is a part of a group of eye disorders known as strabismus. Only about 4 percent of people in the United States are affected by strabismus, which is treated with special glasses, eye patches or surgery.

A visual neuroscientist, Christopher Tyler,  examined several of da Vinci’s pieces of art. Five of the six depict exotropia.  Tyler also believes that da Vinci may have been able to control his exotropia since some of da Vinci’s paintings showed misaligned eyes. Dr. Tyler supposes that da Vinci was able to switch between 2-D vision with only one eye looking at the subject, and 3-D vision with both eyes fixating on the subject. Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man did not express misalignment.*

 

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