[[quoteright:283:[[TabletopGame/YuGiOh http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/GoddessWithTheThirdEye_7204.JPG]]]]

->''A pleasant-faced man steps up to greet you\\
He smiles and says he's pleased to meet you\\
Beneath his hat, the strangeness lies\\
Take it off, he's got three eyes''
--> -- '''Music/{{Rush}}''', "The Twilight Zone"

An eye grants sight, and thus symbolizes perception and understanding of the world. Two eyes gives the ability to perceive depth, so what new dimension might we be able to perceive with a third?

This is an OlderThanPrint trope that goes at least back to the [[UsefulNotes/{{Hinduism}} Hindu]] [[HinduMythology Puranas]], and shows up in various other religions as well. The Third Eye takes the eye's symbolism UpToEleven, representing supernatural and mystical perception, possibly even [[EnlightenmentSuperpowers spiritual enlightenment.]] As such it's not necessarily biological, characters might make a [[PowerGlows glowing]] eye [[PowerTattoo tattoo]] appear on their forehead when using their [[ISenseADisturbanceInTheForce magical perception]] abilities such as AuraVision and BlindfoldedVision.

Aside from the spiritual, a Third Eye is common among {{mutants}}, aliens, and strange creatures. With them it usually provides purely worldly SuperSenses related to vision, especially TrueSight.

As the picture shows, it might be parallel or perpendicular to the two normal eyes. It may also be made more otherworldly by being a different color than the two normal eyes. While this trope is pretty neutral as to heroes and villains, usually evil characters have the mutant type third eye while heroes sport the more "enlightened" mystical one. Either way, expect the owner of the eye to suffer from FreakinessShame if not outright persecution.

It's frequently paired with other EyeTropes and FateAndProphecyTropes. One of the few ways to put ExtraEyes in odd places without incurring EyesDoNotBelongThere. Compare PinealWeirdness -- the third eye is sometimes identified with the pineal gland. Many characters make do with placing a PowerCrystal over this spot. Extra points if it's eye shaped... or ''[[BodyToJewel used to be an eye!]]'' Beware, though, sometimes having a third eye sets you up for a PokeInTheThirdEye.

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!!Examples:

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[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/SazanEyes:'' Pai.
* ''Manga/DragonBall'': Tenshinhan. Subverted in that it doesn't give him any powers. It's just an extra eye.
* ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'': Hiei.
* ''SayonaraZetsubouSensei'': Chiri.
* ''Manga/TheThreeEyedOne'' is about a dimwitted young boy who becomes an EvilGenius with PsychicPowers whenever the bandage over his third eye is removed.
* The Kishin Asura from ''SoulEater'' has a major Buddhist motif, so naturally he has a third eye on his forehead... as well as eyes on his hands, eyes in his hair, and ''eyes within his regular eyes''.
* A great deal of demon ''Franchise/{{Digimon}}'' (most notably Beeelzebumon and Baalmon) have a third eye.
* ''TheThirdTheGirlWithTheBlueEye'': All of the Third have a third eye that allows them to interact with technology. ([[spoiler: Honoka has one that enhances her ability to use KiAttacks.]])
* In ''Tanabata no Kuni'', members of a certain family from a TownWithADarkSecret have special abilities which reference the idea of a "window into the soul". One of them involves creating balls of energy which cleanly destroy anything they come into contact with. Using the ability causes a jewel-like eye to form in the middle of one's head. Continual use causes the "jewel" to get larger, and the person to start looking like one of TheGrays- the precursors who were the source of these powers.
* In ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', the [[spoiler: BigBad Father]] has been shown to open up a third eye in his forehead and pop out a spare philosopher's stone.
* In ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' [[spoiler: Aizen get one in the final fight against Ichigo.]]
* ''EndOfEvangelion'' featured [[spoiler: Lilith temporarily growing a third eye to absorb the Tree of Knowledge]]. There were... ''[[{{Squick}} other]]'' connotations to its appearance, however...
** In ''RebuildOfEvangelion'' [[spoiler:Unit-01 forms a third eye as it begins its ascension to a divine EnergyBeing.]]
* In ''RGVeda,'' Taishakuten and [[spoiler: Kujaku]] each have one, although in this case the third eye is a symbol of "sins even a demon wouldn't commit." [[spoiler: Taishakuten got his by eating Ashura-ou, and Kujaku's was because his parents were [[BrotherSisterIncest siblings]].]]
* ''Franchise/YuGiOh'' has several characters with glowing psychic eyes on the forehead. The above image is from the card "Goddess with the Third Eye."
* Vampires in ''{{Hellsing}}'' have a third eye which they can open through visualization to see through illusions and use as one would use the sight on a sniper rifle. The third eye does not materialize physically, though Alucard [[EyesDoNotBelongThere is rather fond of having multiple eyes when he transforms into shadows]].
* Runa in Manga/FairyNavigatorRuna has one on the back of her neck.
* Ryuuho Kibe from ''Manga/{{Gamaran}}'' has large vertical eye painted on his forehead. When he takes the Jugan Battle Drug his normal eyes takes the same color scheme of the third one (dark red sclerae and white iris).
* Natsume Zange of InuXBokuSS has an eye in the middle of his forehead... [[EyesDoNotBelongThere among other places]]. He's the [[HalfHumanHybrid descendant]] of a hyakume, or "hundred-eyes monster", so that was to be expected. He keeps all except for his left eye covered up with clothes.
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[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Comicbook/DoctorStrange's Eye of Agamotto, a talisman that sees the true nature of things. He can call it up to his forehead and see through it like a third eye.
* One of the ComicBook/GlobalGuardians in [[Franchise/TheDCU the DC Universe]], Tuatara, hero of New Zealand, had a third eye, allowing him to see things in 4-D (forwards and backwards in time.)
* The title character in ''Comicbook/{{Madman}}'' has a third eye that pops out of his forehead in the form of an antennae.
* The Franchise/JusticeLeagueOfAmerica's alien foe Despero's psychic powers are linked to his third eye.
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[[folder:Fanfiction]]
* The title character of ''Fanfic/EmpathTheLuckiestSmurf'' as well as the Psyches originally referred to their telepathic abilities as a "third eye", though now they call it a "minds-eye".
* A good chunk of both fanfics and fanfiction about Podcast/WelcomeToNightVale depict Cecil, the well-informed host of the supernatural town's radio show, as having a third eye. And it ''definitely'' fits...
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[[folder:{{Film}}]]
* One of the "commercial breaks" in ''Film/StarshipTroopers'' features a spooky-looking man asking the viewer if they think they're psychic. In an in-universe example of this trope's symbolic use, a third eye appears on his forehead as he suggests they might be.
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[[folder:Literature]]
* In ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', Harry refers to using The Sight, which allows him to see the mystical threads and symbolic meaning behind things, as opening his Third Eye, and it's a skill/power inherent to wizards. One subplot of ''Storm Front'' involves a magical drug called [=ThreeEye=] which does the same thing, but inevitably drives the users mad because they aren't trained to handle what they're seeing, and can't turn it off.
* [[spoiler:Bran Stark]] in ''ASongOfIceAndFire'' has a metaphysical third eye opened by a dream crow with three eyes. She pecks it open. This all leads to what is perhaps the most densely supernatural plot in the books so far.
* The ''Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse'' juvenile series ''Literature/TheGloveOfDarthVader'' has Trioculus, the three-eyed son of the Emperor. Except he's not really the Emperor's son, he's just some random guy with an extra eye on his forehead. The ''real'' son of the Emperor has his third eye on ''the back'' of his head. I wish I were making this up.
* In ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'', Moiraine wears a blue jewel on her forehead. This is a fashion in her country, but it's later revealed she can use the stone for limited [[CrystalBall scrying]].
* The Celestines in the ''Witches of Eileanan'' universe.
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[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' story "The Silurians", the eponymous creatures had a third eye in their foreheads that glowed when they used their psychic powers.
** Also from ''Series/DoctorWho'', Davros, creator of the Daleks, has a cybernetic blue eye in his forehead in place of his real sunken eyes.
* One of the aliens in ''Series/TheTwilightZone'' episode "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up?" has a third eye.
* From ''Series/PowerRangersWildForce'', we have Master Org, who wears a helmet with a mechanical third eye to hide his human heritage, then grows an actual third eye after his org powers reawaken.
* One of the villains in ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' has a third eye. This comes complete with EyeBeams.
* An anthology television series '''called''' ''The Third Eye'' ran on Nickelodeon in the early 80s, showing kids' spooky miniseries from the UK and New Zealand. No actual three-eyed people appeared, but the introductory narration before each episode referenced this trope.
* In ''Series/{{Farscape}}'', the enigmatic mystic Noranti has a third eye, which only opens occasionally when she uses psi powers.
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[[folder:Music]]
* Gong's song "Perfect Mystery" - "Look up in the air, the Octave Doctor's there, and when he strokes his {{gong}}, your middle eye comes on."
* [[Music/{{Tool}} "PRY-ING O-PEN MY THIRD EYE!]] [[PunctuatedForEmphasis PRY-ING O-PEN MY THIRD EYE!"]]
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[[folder: Professional Wrestling]]

* During Wrestling/KevinSullivan's "Satanic" heel run in Florida in the mid-1980s, he would sometimes talk about "the lady with the Third Eye."
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[[folder:Religion]]
* The Chakra in Hinduism.
* The Hindu Matsya Purana tells of the fear of the gods when Shiva mourned unceasingly for his dead wife Sati, because a prophecy stated that a new son of Shiva was needed to save the gods from a coming catastrophe. Kama, god of love, shot Shiva with a love arrow to make him fall in love with Parvati, so Shiva grew a third eye and burnt Kama to a crisp with EyeBeams.
** Similar things have happened to the heads of Daksha, Ganesha, and Brahma after offending the god (although the last did have four to spare).
* Kali is sometimes portrayed with a third eye in a very personal part of her anatomy.
* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erlang_Shen Er Lang Shen]], a Chinese deity, has one. It can see through disguises.
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[[folder:Tabletop RPG]]
* Navigators in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' have a third eye which allows them to see in the Warp and navigate starships through it. Meeting the gaze of a Navigator's Third Eye is fatal.
* ''TabletopGame/OldWorldOfDarkness'':
** The Salubri clan from ''TabletopGame/VampireTheMasquerade'' had a third eye that would open when they used their clan-specific healing powers.
** The ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse'' book ''Guardians of the Caerns'' makes a ShoutOut to the Salubri with the third eye as a Metis deformity. Unlike some third eyes, it provides no mechanical bonus (except preserving depth perception if you lose an eye). The book hilariously notes that Metis characters with this deformity may find that Tremere vampires (the traditional enemies of Salubri) attack them on sight for no apparent reason.
* There is a villainous PrestigeClass in ''[[DungeonsAndDragons D&D]]'' that has this -- there are sects that worship beholders and some of the most devout cultists can end with a small beholder-kin eye grafted into their foreheads. It can be used to fire various eye-beams but, due to beholders' genetic memory, isn't very conducive to the recipient's sanity.
* Sepharans, in the ''{{Talislanta}}'' supplement ''Midnight Realm''. It's called the Demon Eye, and can be used to invoke various [[BlackMagic nasty magical effects]].
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[[folder:Toys]]
* Kalmah from ''Franchise/{{Bionicle}}'', although his third eye is canonically blind. Reidak was at first designed to have three eyes, and appears as such in outdated promotional images and games, but the finished figure replaced the third eye on his forehead with a purely decorative "ring".
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[[folder:Video Games]]
* In VideoGame/AdventureQuestWorlds Chaorruption gives infected a Third Eye
* In ''LostSoulsMUD'', characters have a number of chakras which can be energized, one of which is the ajna chakra, the third eye. Energizing it grants various perceptual benefits, including astral perception.
* The ''{{Pokemon}}'' Jirachi has one...on its ''stomach''.
** Gastrodon is a large slug with three eyes, while Sigilyph is a bird-like thing with two eyes on its torso and a head consisting of nothing ''but'' an eye.
** Gengar gains one when using it's Mega Evolution.
* In ''PuzzlePirates'', high-ranking cultists on the Cursed Isles wear tribal masks with a perpendicular third eye.
* A rare unintentional example. The [[SuperMarioBros Daisy]] trophy in ''SuperSmashBrosMelee'' has a third eye ''in the back of its head''. You're able to zoom in close enough behind the hair to see it. Later revisions of ''Melee'' removed the eye, but it's still [[NauseaFuel kinda creepy]] to realize it was there in the first place, especially if you weren't aware of it, beforehand.
* Done oddly in ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}''. The Komeiji sisters have third eyes on their hearts, which are external and don't particularly look like hearts. The third eye lets them read minds, but Koishi has closed hers and as a result she can read and manipulate the subconscious instead.
** Utsuho has a Sauron-esque third eye on her chest.
* In ''BreathOfFireIII,'' the hero, Ryu, gains an ability called this, though actually what it does is point the direction he must go with a beam of light.
* World from the ''VideoGame/MagicalDrop'' series.
* ''VideoGame/AgarestSenki'': Vira-lorr.
* In ''VideoGame/StarOceanTheSecondStory'', both Opera and Ernest have third eyes, a trait of the Tetregeniot species. The third game's dictionary mentions that Tetregeniots are extremely good marksmen.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Killer7}}, Emir Parkreiner, a person greatly foreshadowed throughout the game, has one, and the eye itself is foreshadowed along with it, most of which also double to the foreshadowing that [[spoiler: Garcian is Emir. When the duel between the two personalities happen, Garcian needs to shoot Emir's third eye.]]
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[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* {{Discussed|Trope}} and [[ConversationalTroping Conversed]] in ''{{Ever17}},'' though no one has one. [[spoiler:But it marks the point where the Kid is slowly starting to figure out that something is definitely wrong here with the way time is going.]]
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[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Juno in ''AtomicLaundromat'' plays this trope straight.
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[[folder:WebOriginal]]
* In more than one case, early stages of TheCorruption in ''Roleplay/RubyQuest'' involve both healing a crippled body part, and getting extras of that part. [[spoiler:Ruby]] was born blind, and gets a third eye that sometimes has strange visions.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', "Combustion Man" has an eye-shaped PowerTattoo (we hope) on his forehead and he can fire explosive blasts from it.
* On ''WesternAnimation/CelebrityDeathmatch'' WillieNelson defeated Tony Bennett when he took off his bandanna, revealing his third eye which [[EyeBeams vaporized]] his opponent.
* On the ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' "Goliad", Goliad (Princess Bubblegum's sphinx-like replacement for when she dies) has a third eye which she uses to control people and to read their minds.
* [[spoiler:Garnet]] on ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'' has a third eye.
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[[folder:Other]]
* The late-great comedian Bill Hicks claimed that after eating psychedelic drugs, his (metaphorical) third eye opened.
* The Tuatara has a third eye on top it's head call a parietal eye. It's useless for sight but it has it's own lens, cornea, and retina, which suggests that it evolved from a real eye. It is only visible in hatchlings and it gets covered with scales as it ages.
** Many fish and amphibians also have a parietal eye, but it is less well developed than the Tuatara's, and often hard to notice externally. They are mostly used to regulate hormones that are on a day/night cycle.
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