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Monet May Have Been Able To See Ultraviolet Light

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During the later part of his life, French Impressionist painter Claude Monet developed cataracts in his eyes which prevented him from seeing colors clearly. He tried various treatments to no avail. In 1923, at the age of 82, he opted to have the lens of his left eye completely removed. That's when things changed.

Judging by the paintings he produced after the procedure, it may have enabled him to see ultraviolet light. This condition is not unheard of in people with aphakia (the absence of a lens in the eye), because the lens is what prevents us from seeing light in ultraviolet wavelengths. Birds, bees, and many other animals can see UV light. So in a way, you could say Monet was half-honeybee.

Claude Monet

Claude Monet Was Half-Honeybee

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. When he developed cataracts, Monet's ability to distinguish colors was reduced. 01:23

  2. In 1923, Monet had the lens removed from his right eye. 02:25

  3. See two of Monet's paintings of the same scene, each painted with a different eye open: 03:26

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