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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-

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