EYE STORM OF THE
Was Leonardo Da Vinci’s genius helped by a vision disorder? That’s certainly what new research suggests.
Analysis of the Renaissance painter’s face from paintings, drawings and sculptures have revealed he may have suffered from a squint — known medically as a strabismus. Da Vinci is believed to have suffered from a type called intermittent exotropia, a condition which causes one or both eyes to turn outward and affects around one in 200 people.
Researchers have suggested that the disorder may have helped him because it would have given him the ability to switch to monocular vision, in which both eyes are used separately, and allowed him to focus on close-up flat surfaces.
“It is hard to tell which eye was affected from the paintings,” visual neuroscientist Professor Christopher Tyler says. “But it would have been particularly useful for getting the whole scene geometrically correct.”
His study, published in JAMA Ophthalmology, saw him scrutinise surviving images of Da Vinci — of which there are very few. They included the Vitruvian Man sketch and the bronze sculpture David, reputedly a depiction of the young Da Vinci.
In all cases, the eye misalignment was meas-