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Eyes Are Unbreakable

It was horrible. No words can describe the framework of a face when the face itself is gone. Two living and beautiful brown eyes looking sadly out from that grisly ruin did but make the view more awful.

The anti-Eye Scream. When even though in all likelihood one's eyes would be harmed during a fight, or in a nasty accident etc., the eyes remain, remarkably, unharmed. This is seen often in works trying to avoid being Squicky. All the same, eye damage is rarely seen in modern works, as it has become something of a taboo.

This is the case pretty much whenever you see a character with a big, deep scar over his eye.

Sometimes, this can be Truth in Television, thanks to the rather nifty design of the human skull, with the eye set back and largely surrounded by bony prominences in the shape of the brow, nose, and to some extent the cheekbone. This makes it often possible to receive damage around the eye with little or none to the actual eyeball.

Characters who aren't so lucky may end up sporting an Eyepatch of Power.

Related to The Dead Have Eyes. The opposite of Eye Scream.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • A certain Uzumaki chapter has a bit of this. A character's face is slowly turning into a spiral funnel, and at certain point her eye isn't affected, though most of the head around it is.
  • In the Fist of the North Star movie, you get to see the nukes drop. There is a closeup of one unlucky soul caught in the explosion, and everything but his eyes disintegrates.
  • Scar from Fullmetal Alchemist has a huge scar over both his eyes from an explosion, but then the one who did blow up his face could control the explosion very precisely and probably wanted him to suffer, not to die.
  • Mello from Death Note had the entire left side of his face burned off in an explosion, yet his eye is completely intact and able to blink.
  • In One Piece, several characters have scars over their eyes (such as Shanks and Rayleigh) but their eyes are perfectly functional. After the Time Skip, Zoro subverts this trope by having his scarred eye permanently closed. He can still kick ass, though.
  • Claw from Kimba the White Lion is a Subversion. He has a scar across his left eye, but unlike most characters with eye scars, his left eye is always closed.
  • Subverted with Kakashi from Naruto. When we first see his left eye unmasked it looks like this is the case, as he has a long deep scar over it but his eye is in perfect condition. But later we learn that his eye actually was destroyed. He just got a new one transplanted by his ninja medic teammate.
  • Balalaika from Black Lagoon had half her face torn up by a frag grenade. Her eye on that side appears to be fine.

    Comic Books 
  • In X-Men Forever Perfect Storm is slashed across the face by Kitty Pryde (who accidentally gained one of Wolverine's claws), a slash which goes over her eye. The eye still functions perfectly.

    Fanfiction 
  • Reconstructed in the RWBY fic What's In A Name. Weiss' scar was caused by a falling icicle, which would have been fatal if not for a sudden change in the wind. She believes that her mother's spirit saved her.
    Once, she told him how she had seen the trajectory of the icicle before it had struck her, how it should have hit her between the eyes and killed her. But the wind had shifted almost impossibly at the last second.
    He smiled gently, and she did as well.
    They both knew what had happened.

    Films — Animated 
  • Scar from The Lion King has a deep scar running down his face. Whilst it goes directly through his left eye socket, his eyeball is perfectly fine.
    • In the sequel Kovu gets an identical scar, but in this case it's justified since he clearly blinks at the swipe.
  • Wolf from Chirin No Suzu has a scar across his eye.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Vampires in Near Dark repeatedly take third degree burns from sunlight, but their eyes never take damage.
  • A very jarring example occurs in The Dark Knight with Two-Face (pictured above). The left side of his face is burnt off completely, but for his huge unblinking eye, which still seems to work just fine, despite having no way of keeping moist and the fire clearly having been burning right next to it. Although one could assume that he was at least blind in that eye.
    • Original concepts called for the eye to show some form of disfigurement or discoloration as well, but the taboo against (shown) Eye Scream stopped that.
    • Speaking of Batman, the charred body of Max Schreck at the end of Batman Returns has creepily intact eyes.
  • An American Werewolf in London: Jack, David's dead friend, becomes more and more decayed but his eyes are just fine.
  • In Darkman, the explosion that get the titular hero disfigured is actually shown by a close up refection in his eye. However when we next see him his eyes are pretty much the only part of his face left.
  • A Terminator never loses its red eye, but always loses the eye covering. In this case, their eyes likely ARE unbreakable, or very near so.
  • In A Knight's Tale, Count Ademar explains in detail how dangerous eye slits are, and how knights usually tilt their chins to avoid getting shrapnel in their eyes.
  • In the Japanese horror classic Audition, the killer loves to sew eyes shut and poke needles under the eyes, but never harms the eye directly.
  • Happens twice to the same guy in Constantine. When the half-demon Balthazar is sprayed with holy water, the left side of his face is eaten away but his left eye is O.K. Later on, after Constantine blows his face off his body with dragon fire, his right eye is still in perfect condition.
  • Partial aversion: Darth Vader. Lord Vader's eyes still function, but his corneas were burned away. This is why, when his mask is lowered onto his face in Episode III, the lenses have a red-tinted HUD.
  • Literally true in Superman Returns where after failing to kill him with hundreds of rounds to the chest, a thug shoots the title character in his eye. The bullet is crushed on impact.
  • In Any Given Sunday, to demonstrate the violence of football, in one scene, someone's eye is torn out and is lying on the field. While on the surface, this might seem to be a subversion of this trope, the eye itself is actually completely undamaged other than being removed from the socket (e.g., it's not crushed or even bloody). It's packed into a resealable plastic bag for (presumably) re-attachment.
  • The film Eyes Without a Face is about, well....

    Literature 
  • The Sherlock Holmes story which provides the page quote, "The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger", involves a woman whose face was swiped away by an African lion. It's lampshaded that her "living and beautiful brown eyes" merely throw the effect of the ruined face into horrible relief.
  • At the end of The Dark Tower, the Crimson King is erased from existence, but his eyes remain on the balcony of the titular tower (as the Reality Warper artist who did this had to color his eyes with red paint on his pencil drawing, and thus couldn't erase them).
  • Double subverted in Matthew Reilly's Scarecrow books, with regards to the eponymous character's Eye Scream scars. Schofield's eyes were in fact badly damaged when the scars were inflicted, but his sight was saved and his eyes fully repaired. Nothing could be done about the scars themselves, however, so Schofield wears reflective glasses almost all the time because people find the sight of them very unnerving.
  • Averted with Hester Shaw in Mortal Engines - frequent attention is brought to a horrifyingly extensive facial scar that rid her of her nose, one eye, and caused permanent lip and jaw disfigurement. Much of Hester's mood swinging in the first book is explained by herself as seeing the monster she has become, thinking of the man who caused it, and becoming bitter and spiteful again. Also, she's constantly afraid that Tom will abandon her for a more refined, more conventionally beautiful girl.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In House, patients come in with all sorts of horrible conditions, and treatment has ranged from amputations, removal of one hemisphere of the brain, to death. However, not one single patient has yet lost an eye. The most severe damage eyes take is eyes turning red or yellow, or temporary blindness. Interestingly, when blindness has occurred, never has it been because of eye damage, but because of pressure to the optic nerve, a brain parasite, or brain damage. Blood may pour from every single orifice in the body, except eyes.
    • However, that's only if you don't count the Season Two Finale. Even if it never really happened, we still saw a guy's eye burst out of its socket..
  • Hardly any corpses in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation have ever had damaged eyes. They are usually either intact or gone completely. One season 9 episode features a woman whose eyes have been gouged out by her killer's thumbs, but thankfully this was mostly left to the imagination and not shown directly on screen.
  • The Three Stooges poke each other in the eyes so much, it's a wonder they all can still see.
  • The original Life Meter in Knightmare is a slowly disintegrating head. The eyes remain when all the other flesh has gone, and then outlast the skull. When they're all that's left, they look at each other before spinning away out of shot.
  • In one episode of NCIS the victim of the week was missing an eye. He had apparently gouged it out and swallowed it. During autopsy, the eye was recovered and found to be fully intact.
    • In another episode a serial killer specifically leaves the team an intact eye and they figure he cut it out from a dead or unconscious victim. It turns out that the eye was taken out during a violent struggle but remained intact.
  • Torchwood: Miracle Day has two examples. When the world is cursed by not being able to die (though not heal), one man gets blown up, and his body is charred and most of his flesh is gone, but his eyes are still there and functioning. And yet another lady gets put into a car crusher IN A CAR, and a zoom in reveals a single eye bopping back and forth.
  • Averted in Breaking Bad when Gustavo Fring gets half their face blown off by Walter's booby trap on Hector Salamanca's wheelchair. While the eye socket is shown mostly intact, it is completely empty.
  • Averted in The Walking Dead Michonne stabs the Governer in the eye with a shard of glass. There are even graphic close-ups of the mangled and oozing wound

    Video Games 
  • In Dead Space 2, Isaac Clarke has to have a needle jammed in his eye near the endgame. Despite it being really painful (with blood coming out of the eye), Isaac still sees perfectly, and Word of God says that any damage that was received was fixed within 24 Hours of the game's end.
  • Crash Bandicoot's explosive-death animation leaves only his shoes and his eyes.
  • This is one of the concessions to taste in Carn Evil, along with your opponents' lack of internal organs. The unintentionally humorous result is that an opponent with no remaining face has its eyes bulging out of its ruined flesh. (Yes, this game has Gorn by the bucketload.)
  • Semi-example: Sir Daniel Fortesque, the protagonist of MediEvil, is a living skeleton reanimated after 100 of lying still in his crypt, and despite having lost all of his skin, muscle tissue and a jawbone, he still has one functional eye left. His other eye wasn't quite so lucky, seeing as he died by catching an arrow with it.
  • In the Day of Sigma OVA for Mega Man X, after Sigma launches a missile barrage on Abel City, X charges his hand until it glows white-hot and tries to gouge Sigma's eyes out. This gave Sigma his trademark scars, but did nothing whatsoever to his eyes.
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, hitting a hobo with too much cold damage causes it to shatter, leaving behind nothing but its eyes.
  • In the Team Fortress 2 "Meet the Spy" video, the Soldier gibs the Blu Spy's head, and the latter's eyes go flying off.
  • Pac-Man makes this Older Than the NES: When he eats a ghost, its eyes remain.
  • Keldorn and Imoen from Baldur's Gate II both have visible scars over one eye, but the eyeball itself is perfectly fine. Imoen's may be justified by being surgery scars from Irenicus' 'treatments'.
  • In Fallout 3, blowing an enemy's head apart causes intact eyeballs to fly hither, thither and/or yon. This is almost certainly an application of the Rule of Funny.
  • If you throw a bundle of TNT sticks to an enemy with low energy in the Cadillacs and Dinosaurs arcade game, he will explode, leaving only his eyeballs flying away.
  • Initially played straight in Conkers Bad Fur Day, where fooling Franky The Pitchfork into attacking animate piles of hay causes them to disintegrate and only leave their eyeballs behind, which then keep staring at Conker. Subverted right afterwards by running over them, which causes them to be squashed.
  • In Rise of the Triad, the player routinely gibs enemies, blasting them into chunky kibbles, but very often, a perfectly intact eyeball will slide down the screen.
  • Prehistorik Man has the Looney Tunes version in the first tree level.
  • The Facebook game "Zombie Lane" features sentry guns, powerful twin-barrelled cannon that blow zombies of all sizes to shreds if they come too close. One of the few bits large enough to land is an eyeball that bounces on the ground, and it is the last part of a killed zombie to fade.
  • In The Binding of Isaac Peep's detached eyes will float around the room, invincible and damaging anything they touch. Eye enemies that are fastened to the floor can be killed though.
    • Picking up the "Peeper" item causes Isaac's left eye to pop out and attack enemies, leaving an empty, bloody socket in Isaac's face. Eyes are unbreakable. Eye sockets, not so much.
  • At the end of Episode 5 of Sam & Max: Beyond Time and Space, the Soda Poppers have a portal opened on them (which was one of the Bermuda Triangle portals from Episode 2, It Makes Sense in Context) that pours gallons and gallons of lava on them, and Peepers' eyeballs can be seen floating around in the lava after he and the other Soda Poppers are killed.
  • Loadout's damage model, being the mix of cartoonish and grotesque gore that it is, allow players to land a headshot and not instantly kill the enemy - leaving him with a big hole in the face (or no face at all) with only eyes intanct.
  • In Mud and Blood 2, soldiers killed by fire will be charred to bones - minus the eyes. With which they continue to stare at the player in "you bastard" manner.
  • While eyes in Dwarf Fortress are the easiest part to destroy with heat, it is almost impossible to totally destroy them with other type of damage. However, the reason they qualify to this trope is... If you manage to butcher dead creature and get eyeballs as a result, you can throw them at other enemies - possibly breaking bones and caving in skulls. With a bag of water and nerves.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Katawa Shoujo, Hanako has right side of her body (and face) covered with burn scars from a childhood tragedy. But according to the Word of God, her right eye is not damaged, and in one scene in the game, it shows that Hanako's scars reach up her neck and onto her cheek, but don't quite reach the eye.
    • Hanako was originally meant to have more serious and extensive scarring, including being blinded in one eye and have mobility issues from muscle damage to the leg (similar to House's limp). However, this was changed to make her Not Too Disfigured. Which creates an internal inconsistency, as Yamaku does not take students solely on psychological grounds, and Hanako's only remaining flaws are her social phobias, pitiful self-esteem and guilt complex ... all of which are psychological.
      • To be fair, Hanako's psychological issues are so bad that she would be expelled from any normal school for not behaving "acceptably". Even when she was with a friend and the class rep and her assistant for an assignment, she completely broke down and had to leave the classroom. It's likely that Yamaku was the only place she could function and recover from her psychological issues at.
  • SHUFFLE! had Kaede drop a cut cutter over Rin's face and had it positioned just so that it cut his eye. He has no issues seeing and didn't need to get a replacement of any sort.

    Web Original 
  • Averted in Red vs. Blue by York. After a grenade went off near his face, he not only was badly scarred on most of one side of his face, but he lost vision in that eye. Further, his eye is usually depicted as being a ruined, iris-less void.
  • RWBY's Weiss has a small, jagged scar across her left eye, yet her vision seems entirely normal.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • The cat Chase No-Face, who lost her nose and eyelids in a car accident but lives a normal life, needing only a dash of eyedrops twice a day and a dark room to sleep in. If you feel slightly queasy now, brace yourself before looking at this link.
  • Accepted wisdom is to jab at an attacking shark's eyes. And while this method has a well documented success rate, sharks not only have protective eyelids, but surprisingly hard eyeballs.


Eyes Are MentalEye TropesEye Scream
Excuse PlotOlder Than the NESFalling Damage
Eye ScreamHorror TropesThe Eyes Have It
Disguised Hostage GambitImageSource/Live-Action FilmsFacial Horror

alternative title(s): Eyes Are Invincible
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