"Ever look into his eyes? There's nothing there."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.
— Angel, "Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been"
Examples:Anime and Manga
- After the climax of Sailor Moon S, Usagi emerges from her battle with Pharaoh 90 with blank, horrified eyes.
- In the manga's "Infinity Arc," this is used to demonstrate that Saturn has awakened, and Hotaru's no longer in control. In the anime's equivalent season, this is occasionally used when someone besides Hotaru is "behind the wheel," though it prefers to combine Glowing Eyes of Doom and Red Eyes, Take Warning.
- In Act 2 of Sailor Moon Crystal, a Brainwashed Ami's eyes go from a deep sea blue to a matte, dull deep green with dilated, obscured pupils under the influence of the Crystal Disk, a magical CD meant to enslave the user, disguised as a Cram School study aid.
- 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.
- 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.
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
- Used when Rika's corpse is found by the others.
- Given to Rena at the height of her insanity during the Atonement Arc
- Satoko gets these at any time when her Evil Uncle is around and subjecting her to abuse. It's a sign that she's found the courage to stand up to him when her pupils and highlights come back.
- In Juuni Senshi Bakuretsu Eto Ranger, Hols' Super Mode has blank, angry eyes, indicating that after seeing red, no amount of looking at anything else can stop him.
- In Assassination Classroom Karma alone in class E lacks eyeshine in his design. Coupled with them being drawn a bit wider, it makes him look a little unhinged compared to the others. Given that a lot of his attitude is from being let down horribly by a teacher he once respected, there's definitely a sign of being broken there.
- Used to imply mind control in Heart Of Empire.
- 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."
- In A Wrinkle in Time, Charles Wallace's eyes turn completely blue, with no pupil or iris.
- Karzahni and Tren Krom were described as having these in certain BIONICLE media, though the former was illustrated with bright yellow eyes and later released as a toy with red eyes, and the latter was also given glowing eyes because of the writer misremembering.
- Evanescence's song, "Exodus", mentions in the last verse "so much more dismay in empty eyes".
- Dino Attack RPG:
- Most Mutant Dinos and Quasifigus Hybrids have blank white eyes.
- After being attacked by a Mutant Raptor, Greybeard's scarred eye appears washed-out in color in comparison to his other eye. He was also nearly blind in that eye.
- When Rex's body was possessed by Baron Typhonus, his eyes turned blank white.
- "Beast Changer" (Savage/Noble) from the Beast Machines line had literally empty eyes in his Noble mode. Some think that this was a deliberate decision note , others say that the toy was simply released incomplete — at any rate, Noble had normal eyes in the TV series.
- Gadget Trial: The titular trial is pitting two families of E-Series cyborg girl soldiers against each other to see which is better. Contrasting the protagonist White family, are the E-Series Black who are programmed for perfect obedience, lack of character and minimal self-awareness. Gleamless eyes and stiff expressions come with it.
- Dark Arle in Puyo Puyo 7 has these, when under control of Ecolo.
- Giving Komeiji Koshi Empty Eyes is common in fanart and it became official as of Hopeless Masquerade. Also a very odd combination of the possible reasons behind the Empty Eyes as she's definitely air-headed, to the point where she's flat-out dead on the inside, which is the result of her basically mind wiping herself to escape from the shocking and traumatizing treatment she was subjected to due to her mind reading powers. And if there's any truth behind her "love-stricken massacre" line, she might very well come across as insane, too.
- The page image is Michael Kappel of Collar 6, deep in the midst of a Heroic BSOD after his parents were killed by Unfriendly Fire.
- 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.