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Empty Eyes
"Ever look into his eyes? There's nothing there."
Angel, "Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been"

Lack of pupils, and customary light reflection; iris shading goes from the usual radial to gradient; eyelids drop. Yep, this character is suffering from the "Empty Eyes" trope, a condition denoting that the character is air-headedly distracted, shocked, traumatized, dead, mind controlled, insane, anywhere among those six points, or any combination of the above. This trope is most common in anime, though as of late, it's made its way to western animation. Due to the condition of shock causing the eyes to dilate, realistic live action will never have this unless the producers don't know better. Pushed for effect in Break the Cutie scenarios.

Sister trope of Prophet Eyes, and the two may coincide as repeated trauma could give someone a Disability Superpower.

Compare Dull Eyes of Unhappiness, Thousand-Yard Stare, Mind-Control Eyes, Heroic BSOD and Angst Coma.


Anime and Manga
  • After the climax of Sailor Moon S, Usagi emerges from her battle with Pharaoh 90 with blank, horrified eyes.
  • Towards the climax of Ragnarok: The Animation this happens to Yufa
  • Azumanga Daioh: Sometimes invoked by Sakaki, particularly when she's either daydreaming, or when she's suffering from Cuteness Overload.
  • Often invoked in hentai, in general; usually when the female victim(s) has crossed the Despair Event Horizon, to the point of being broken and unresponsive, having resigned to their fate.
  • In Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Clair Vaux Bernard always has these eyes, representative of her status as merely Yasu's storyteller, unable to interfere with anything that actually occurs within the story she tells.

Comic Books

  • In the original 1975 version of The Stepford Wives, Jessica's robot double has these when first seen.
  • Jaws had Quint's memorable quote about how a shark's eyes look like a doll's eyes - cold and empty.
  • Halloween (1978) had Dr. Loomis describe Michael as having "The blackest eyes. The Devil's eyes."

  • Evanescence's song, "Exodus", mentions in the last verse "so much more dismay in empty eyes".

Video Games

Web Comics
  • Characters in Home Stuck who are dead gain completely blank eyes if they are seen in Dream Bubbles afterward. It doesn't affect their personality or eyesight, though. Andrew Hussie's Author Avatar also had empty eyes even before his in-comic death. Whether that is significant or not remains to be seen.


  • In A Wrinkle in Time, Charles Wallace's eyes turn completely blue, with no pupil or iris.

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