Traditional grease consists of beeswax, paraffin, and carbon. Anti-glare face strips that emulate the grease are also commonly used. One of the earliest known instances of a player wearing eye black is baseball legend Babe Ruth, who, in or around the 1930s, used the grease in an attempt to reduce sun glare. According to Paul Lukas of ESPN.com, eye black caught on with American football player Andy Farkas. He also states that the original eye black was made from burned cork ashes.
A 2003 study by Brian DeBroff and Patricia Pahk tested whether black eye grease actually had anti-glare properties. The subjects of the study were divided into three groups: wearers of eye black, wearers of anti-glare stickers, and wearers of petroleum jelly. The subjects' vision was tested using an eye chart while being exposed to natural sunlight. The study concluded that eye black reduced glare of the sun and improved contrast sensitivity, whereas commercial anti-glare stickers and petroleum jelly (the control substance) were found to be ineffective. A further study which set to improve DeBroff's methodology also found eye black to reduce glare from the sun, but less so in blue-eyed individuals and males.
Some athletes, particularly at the college level, began a practice of placing short messages on their eye black, most notably Tim Tebow who used Bible verse references. However, this practice was banned on April 14, 2010, when the NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel (PROP) approved a proposal effecting "that players are not allowed to have any symbols or messages on their eye black starting in the 2010 season."
Other articles related to "eye black, black, eyes, eye":
... Myth Statement Status Notes The reason baseball players wear black markings under their eyes is to help reduce glare from the sun ... Plausible Adam and Jamie put black eye paint under their eyes and took an eye exam, then repeated with lighter, peach colored eye paint ... Adam then set up a light meter in a dummy's eye and recorded the lux reading in the eye with and without the paint, but the results were not very different ...