"My grandfather had two glass eyes, and yet he could see. What happened was, he sadly lost one eye (he wasn't careless, he was ill). And he had a glass eye made, exactly like his other perfectly working, blue Scandinavian eye. Then he had one made that was bloodshot, and it was known as "Grandpa's Party Eye". He kept it in a box on the mantelpiece, and when he went out for the evening, he'd take out the false blue one and put in the bloodshot one, and he'd say, "I'm going out now, and I shan't be back till they match!"Glass Eyes are effectively a slightly more technologically advanced version of the eyepatch but without some of the pirate overtones. So they often get the overtones of the Eyepatch of Power. This particularly happens if the glass eye is designed to not match the other eye. However, another common use of the Glass Eye is for comedy. The eye ends up being ill-fitting, constantly rolls around in the head, perhaps falls out and rolls around on the floor, leading to some slapstick runaround. A common variation for comedy purposes is to make the eyes wooden. It's just inherently funnier somehow, though you might get the common courtesy of a joke where the wooden eye is going along with a pirate's wooden legs and wooden arms and wooden... other bits. Mention must also go to the common joke format of Ignore the Disability, where people take great pains to try to not stare at the deformity. See also Electronic Eyes for when the concept gets a futuristic upgrade with some more exotic connotations.
— Sandi Toksvig, QI, "Hypothetical"
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- The protagonist of Mushishi, not that one can normally notice. It also serves as a constant reminder of the death that awaits him the moment his other eye disappears. At one point he uses it to make an actual eye for a little girl who lost both of her eyes thanks to a Mushi while her friend looks on and freaks out at the entire thing.
- In Descendants of Darkness, Muraki's right eye is often drawn slightly wider than his left, adding to his unsettling appearance. No explanation is offered in the anime (aside from the fact that it glows with a weird blue or violet light when he's summoning familiars/casting curses/generally being freakish and supernatural), but in the manga, during a confrontation with Tsuzuki, it falls out, revealing it to be a glass eye.
- An example of an attractive character with one - in Valvrave the Liberator, A-drei (A3), a handsome deposed Warrior Prince, gets his eye shot out in the second episode. Later, he comes back with a replacement, which matches his other eye in color, except it isn't drawn with as much detail. The eye and the scar around it are often seen, even though they're under his bangs. It doesn't take away at all from his beauty.
- Kabuki- While kabuki is stuck in prison a fellow agent switches her glass eye with a guard's. Her eye is smaller so the guards eye falls out every time he bends over. It plays into their escape plan
- Teddy "Red" Herring, the title character of Red Herring, is said to have an obviously fake right eye. The artwork depicts both eyes as identical and they move in tandem, but it's so obvious to the other characters that he constantly fields questions about it — and gives a different answer each time.
- Ragetti in Pirates of the Caribbean has a wooden eye that has a tendency to fall out a lot and/or "splinter something fierce" especially when he rubs it. He wants to spend his share of the treasure to buy a glass one that fits.
- It turns out to be one of the Pieces of Eight needed to free Calypso. He switches to a proper Eyepatch of Power after that.
- Big Bad of Last Action Hero has a selection of glass eyes. Some of whom double as bombs. Each of them with different motifs for the iris (such as a Happy Face or a target or a crosshair).
- Captain Ron from the movie Captain Ron has a glass eye, but he won it in a poker game and it doesn't fit properly, so he usually has it covered with an eyepatch to hold it in. Later in the movie, during a festival, he tries to remove the eyepatch to blend in, but then his eye spontaneously pops out and bounces away. After searching around for a while, he gives up and puts the eyepatch back on.
- The Sons Of Katie Elder has a Lovable Rogue as one of the sons. He has the trick of auctioning off his glass eye in a raffle at a bar in order to get money for drinks.
- In Gangs of New York, Bill "The Butcher" Cutting out his eye because it offended him when he lost to Priest Vallon in a street fight in early 19th-century New York City. He replaced it with a glass eye... with an American Eagle for an iris. He taps it with his steak knife to emphasize a point. Daniel Day-Lewis did the scene without blinking.
- In Valkyrie, Stauffenberg wears a cosmetic eye on formal occasions and an Eyepatch of Power on normal ones.
- The Smokers' leader in Waterworld got a plastic eye, arguably it looked more disgusting than the empty socket so he switched to an eyepatch.
- A very creepy version is Mr. Teatime from Hogfather. He has a grey (black in the Film of the Book) glass eye that may actually be a crystal ball. As the author makes clear, though, it's Teatime's real eye which is the scarier, with its pinhole-sized pupil.
- Mad-Eye Moody's magical eye from Harry Potter adds an aura of mystique around the veteran dark wizard hunter. His eye also has some particularly creepy abilities such as being able to see through things and turn around in his head to watch all behind him, as befits his ever watchful, ever paranoid personality.
- Wednesday from American Gods has one. Eye itself doesn't play overly siginficant role in plot (though it plays a role) but it's one of clues to Wednesday's real identity. Well, more the fact that he would actually need one, but still...
- The Fault in Our Stars:
- Isaac has one at the beginning of the book, as a result of a rare form of eye cancer. The eye itself isn't really mentioned except as part of his description.
- Brother Jack in Invisible Man.
- In a WW2 novel set in Italian-occupied East Africa (can't remember the title), a British soldier tells the natives he'll leave his eye behind to make sure they don't get up to mischief. It doesn't work because one of them is a former sailor and knows all about glass eyes.
- Two-Faced Bretan Braith Lantry of Dying of the Light sports one, made of a material that glows blood red at night. The main character stops being scared of him when he realizes that Bretan must have consciously chose it for that effect. He's even ready to write Bretan off when another character informs him that he's actually a feared duelist.
- Mrs. Twit from The Twits had a glass eye that was said to always be looking in the opposite direction. She would occasionally pop it out and hide it in around the house to play tricks on her husband.
- The Poet Sirrah of A Canticle for Leibowitz has one that he treats as a "removable conscience."
- In A Darker Shade Of Magic, protagonist Lila has a glass eye due to a childhood injury. It prevents her from being identified as an Antari, since their distinguishing Mark of the Supernatural is a mismatched pitch-black eye.
Live Action TV
- On Wings, Lowell mentions his grandmother gets a big laugh every year at Thanksgiving when she takes out her glass eye and sticks it in the stuffing.
- On Red Dwarf, Warden Ackerman has a glass eye. He does wear an eye patch in one episode where it's been stolen, shortly before it's revealed that he's the owner of a glass eye.
- One of the most powerful Objects from The Lost Room was the Glass Eye. The only way to use it was to wear it.
- Columbo implies that the title character (like actor Peter Falk, see Real Life below) only has one functional eye, telling someone who was helping him search for evidence in one crime that "Three eyes are better than two."
- On All in the Family when Sammy Davis Jr. note is going to come over Archie warns Edith not to mention Sammy's Glass Eye; of course Archie accidentally does so himself as soon as Sammy shows up.
- The Tailies on Lost find a glass eye within one of the bunkers. It presumably belonged to Mikhail, who by that time was wearing an eye-patch instead.
- A variation occurs in Pin Bot, where the metal pinballs serve as the eyes. The player begins multiball by placing them in the robot's eye sockets.
- In Last Action Hero, there is a bank of target for three of Benedict's novelty glass eyes. Hitting all three awards the Benedict Bonus Boost, and they're the focus of the "Red Eye" mode.
- Catscratch in The Suburban Jungle has a glass eye to replace the one that was, well, scratched out by a cat.
- Niels has an eye taken out by Agent 300, afterwards he usually has a glass eye but sometimes wears an Eyepatch of Power. And then there's one time he finds a transparent eye in order to gross out 300.
- Jin from Bastard has a glass left eye after a brutal childhood "accident" that left him amnesiac and his body battered. His classmates pejoratively call him "glass-eye," while his bullies go even further with "glass-eye emo freak."
- Sam's magitek glass eye in Kaspall has a night-vision mode and optional subscription service.
- Red Dead Redemption Yes ol' Seth Briars sure is quite the piece of work. He destroyed his entire life hunting down the treasure. (He even admits a few levels earlier) His wife, his children, his business. All for a fucking glass eye. However, according to the epilogue he eventually does find actual treasure that made him rich.
- In The Secret of Monkey Island, one of the pirates you meet in Scumm Bar has a glass eye. And the fourth chapter of Tales of Monkey Island involves a magical one that can change color to match the eyes of someone.
- Bitores Mendez, the village chieftan from Resident Evil 4 has one of these, it apparently has some coding in the iris that's used as a key to the castle.
- Raul Menendez from Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 has one, after Alex Mason shot his eye out during the Angolan Civil War in 1986. He later uses it to hide a Celerium chip containing the virus which he uses to take over the US drone fleet.
- The Longest Journey plays this trope to the hilt, including the eye falling out and rolling around. Also an example of Electronic Eye. It becomes a Borrowed Biometric Bypass.
- The Engineer may equip the Googly Gazer in Team Fortress 2. Its standard appearance is a bloodshot glass eye over the Engineer's right goggle lens, purely for playing the comedy angle by rolling around uncontrollably in its socket.
- Sammy Davis Jr. is probably the best known celebrity to wear an ocular prosthesis, about which he was always very unselfconscious and self-deprecating. (Example: In an outtake from a Bob Hope Special, Sammy blows a cue card line and declares, "Hey, I'm sorry — I only got one eye, and it was lookin' the other way!!")
- Once during the run of The Brady Bunch, Barry Williams (Greg) told the other Brady kid actors he had a glass eye. When he was called on it, he borrowed one from an optometrist friend of his father and used that to freak out Eve Plumb (Jan).
- The actor Peter Falk had to have an eye removed as a child, and so had a glass eye for most of his life. This kind of enhanced his performance as Columbo, the master of Obfuscating Stupidity and Perp Sweating, as it gave him a sort of squint where you didn't know if he was looking at you or not. Which led to a Real Life Crowning Moment of Funny — when playing baseball in High School, he slid into home, and was called out. He popped out his eye, handed it to the umpire, and said "You need this more than I do."
- Sandy Duncan was commonly thought to have one, but in reality she lost sight in one eye after surgery to remove a tumor but did not lose the eye itself.
- Nick Griffin, leader of the British National Party, has one due to an accident involving a shot shell on a burning pile of wood.
- Jack Elam, wonderful character actor, had a glass eye, which he used to great effect to look stupid or confused.
- Shakespearean actor Leo McKern, also notable for playing Horace Rumpole in Rumpole of the Bailey, lost his left eye at 15 in an accident, and had a glass one in its place.
- 19th-century politician Léon Gambetta wore one after one of his eyes got infected in a childhood accident and had to be surgically removed. He lost it at least once during a parliamentary session that turned into a brawl.