"The boss always looks so stoned when he goes into a trance."
Characters with cataracted eyes. Sometimes it's just that — cataracted eyes.
Characters with this specific type of Monochromatic Eyes
tend to be Blind Seers
or have a blindness-related Disability Superpower
. This kind of blindness is "extra psychic
" or special, and is also associated with powers other than prescience. It's not uncommon for some characters in a trance to have their eyes turn milky white while concentrating (rather than roll back into the skull).
and some other undead
or monsters also have milky white eyes, though in that case it's that they don't blink for the former, leading to all sorts of crap in your eye. Don't expect this to stop them from actually seeing/smelling their prey with unerring accuracy.
And sometimes, white eyes simply alert the audience that their owner is supernatural or pure evil
This effect can be useful for blind characters in live-action productions because human beings instinctively follow movement and zero in on important things like faces with their eyes, an instinct that is just about impossible to suppress. Milky white eyes make it impossible to tell which way an actor is looking and makes the effect of a blind, fixed stare more convincing.
This trope has nothing to do with Blank White Eyes
except for the color. For other colors, see Monochromatic Eyes
. See also Third Eye
, Mind-Control Eyes
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Anime & Manga
- The Hyuuga clan of Naruto inverts this trope, as the power of their Byakugan allows them to see pressure and chakra points on their opponent, theoretically allowing them to inflict maximum damage with every strike. Not to mention 359 degree X-ray telescopic night vision with a solid angle blind spot..
- Seishirou Sakurazuka and Subaru Sumeragi from CLAMP's Tokyo Babylon and X1999 get one blank eye each due to massive trauma (in separated, but related, events). So did Watanuki from Xxx Ho Lic for a while. In Seishirou's and Subaru's case, it's because their eyes are made of glass.
- In Bleach, although there Tousen and Chojiro have blank white eyes, there's no known reason for it in terms of power or mysticism, although Tousen is known to be blind. He doesn't have any powers from being blind, however. In the case of Tsukishima, however, when his mind-control power kicks into full gear, his eyes take on an all-white cast and become both eerie and evil.
- Akisame Koetsuji from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple
- Shuu in Fist of the North Star, who can still fight with the best of them, despite his blindness. He actually slashed his own eyes out in order to spare a young Kenshiro's life.
- Some rather highly powered characters in the manga version of Get Backers, including Akabane, Kagami and Miroku Natsuhiko. All three are not blind and fall under the "supernatural" category.
- The silver wolves in Hols: Prince of the Sun are the supernatural type, and are directly working for Grunwald, who ironically, is referred to throughout the film as "The devil".
- Galatea from Claymore, after the timeskip. And yes, hers come with a Disability Superpower.
- Fullmetal Alchemist's Roy Mustang after chapter 102.
- Masane in Witchblade temporarily gets these when an X-Con or Cloneblade user is near.
- High School Of The Dead features zombies with the classic "undead eyes" version; they make up for it by hearing unbelievably well, but having other senses dulled (i.e. dumbly walking into a wall, easily being pushed out of the way by someone walking quietly and carrying a wooden sword, walking right past someone who's just staying out of the way, etc.)
- Junji Ito depicts his fiancee "A-ko" with blank eyes and a wide smile in Ito Junji's Cat Diary.
- Jei-san in Usagi Yojimbo has this due to being "divinely blessed" (more likely demonically cursed or possessed), and he also has a small amount of psychic power: he kidnapped Jotaro because he felt there was some connection to Usagi, but didn't know what it was. It turns out Jotaro is actually Usagi's son; not even Usagi knew that. His current "host" Inazuma also gained the white eyes and demonic aura as has his next host, a monk named Hama.
- Whether or not Daredevil has these or is simply unfocused depends largely on the artist. Or perhaps he just has cataracts.
- X-Men's Storm has the "when using powers" version. Since in a few adaptions (the movies in particular) her powers require a lot of concentration, this trope fits. It's been theorized that her eyes might be forming a protective membrane against the elements.
- Watchmen's Doctor Manhattan has completely white eyes with no pupils. Again, his case is an inversion, since he isn't blind.
- The Goon: For a comic about a hulking anti-hero fighting supernatural entities such as ghouls, ghosts, skunk apes obsessed with pie, aliens, demons and mad scientists, it's never made clear why his human sidekick, Franky, is drawn without pupils. He has no supernatural attributes or abilities, and he's certainly not blind (demonstrated by his signature "knife to the eye" technique). It appears to be an artistic preference. Franky's eyes are not so much Prophet Eyes as they are "Blunked Out" — an old-time comic book style (Little Orphan Annie is a prominent example of "Blunked Out" eyes).
- Saxon in Candorville can make his eyes look like this at will. It's uncertain whether they have any special powers, but they're clearly different from the red eyes demonstrated by other vampires. This may be because he's a Dhampyr, or because he's a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- The emerald seer in Krull (probably) has this. He rarely opens his eyes though, and his doppelganger has all black eyes.
- In the 1981 version of Clash of the Titans, Perseus encounters three Stygian witches who cannot see (except through a Crystal Ball). Although they planned to eat him, he gains their assistance by taking the ball from them and only giving it back when he gets the answers he needs.
- The old hag in Monty Python and the Holy Grail has eyes like these.
- A partial example is Halle Berry's version of Storm in the X-Men films. When channeling her power, her eyes go milky white (taken from the comics, when the artists remember). In the first film, this was done with contacts, but she complained, so in the sequels they added the effect digitally in post-production.
- Darryl Revok gets this in the psychic duel at the end of Scanners.
- The deadites of the Evil Dead films, much to the chagrin of the actors and actresses who had to wear thick white contact lenses over their eyes and be led blindly around the movie set. Interestingly, they're not only undead monsters, they also have the "prophet" angle of this trope covered: the first person to be possessed in the original film announced her transformation by correctly listing a series of hidden playing cards in an increasingly demonic voice, and all of them can read their victim's minds and play on their weaknesses.
- Lon Chaney, Sr. claimed a number of techniques for portraying this form of blindness on screen. For short shots, he would simply roll his eyes up into his skull. For longer takes, he would either use a mixture of guncotton to form a film over his eyes, or he would spread a thin layer of egg-white over his eyes to obscure them.
- Mrs. Slydes (the scary old lady mistaken for a ghost) in House on Haunted Hill (1959).
- Blind Mag in Repo! The Genetic Opera has high-tech camera-eyes of a strange color and pattern, that let her record and project images.
- Red Heat (1988). Arnold Schwarzenegger is playing Ivan Danko, a Soviet cop in the United States trying to lean on Abdul Elijah, a Black Muslim drug boss.
Danko: You ship drugs to my country, you wake up and find your testicles floating in a glass of water next to your bed.
Elijah: I'm a holy man. I don't need testicles.
Danko: Then I'll settle for your eyes.
Elijah: You don't scare me, white boy. (takes off sunglasses to reveal his milky white eyes)
- The Made-for-TV Movie of Going Postal has Moist's eyes do this when he "receives a message from the Gods" about where to find the money he needs. It's achieved in-universe through the use of turtle egg shells.
- The film version of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire has Viktor Krum having these eyes when he points his wand at Harry with the Lumos spell during the Third Tournament of the Tri-Wizard Cup. This, along with his action towards Harry, are early hints (both to Harry and the audience) that Krum wasn't himself during the tournament.
- In The Chronicles of Riddick, the eponymous character has silver/white eyes.
- The aliens from I Come in Peace have white eyes.
- There is an old seer with white eyes in The Others, although this is because she is presumably blind.
- Miss Treason from the Discworld story Wintersmith has eyes like these.
- In Robert Newman's Young Adult novel The Case of the Baker Street Irregular, Sherlock Holmes impersonates a blind man, and uses gutta-percha contacts to make his eyes appear this way.
- Aragog the spider in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has milky white eyes because he is blind.
- A particularly irritating Blind Seer has this quality in the Belgariad. Eddings uses it to good effect — when Polgara destroys her foresight by restoring her vision, he describes it as looking like the milkiness drains out the bottom of her eyes.
- In the sequel series, the Malloreon, The Dragon Naradas has these eyes. It's specified that he isn't blind; they're more of a Red Right Hand.
- Zephyr, an ancient bat with supernatural sonic powers in Silverwing is described as having eyes that are completely white with cataracts due to his advanced age.
- Side effect of becoming a Crone in The Seventh Tower. The Crones do not lose their sight... they only appear as though they have.
- In the second series of The Chronicles of Amber books, Coral winds up with the Jewel of Judgment in place of her missing eye, allowing her to see the Primal Pattern directly.
- Cathan from the Dragonlance Kingpriest Trilogy has these. He isn't blind, however — it's just a cosmetic side-effect of his having been resurrected. Other supernatural beings associated with the same god who brought him back are shown to have similar eyes.
- All Moth- and Butterfly-kinden in Shadows of the Apt. The Moths also have perfect (though presumably monochrome) night vision, as well as tending to be seers and prophets.
- In World War Z, a soldier mentions that zombies have these sorts of eyes, but not for any magical reason: without a need to blink, dust and random debris in the air produce microscopic scratches in the eyes of the undead.
- Adie from the Sword of Truth series. Blind, but capable of seeing with her magic. Becomes a major issue when the Pristinely Ungifted appear, because she can't see them at all since they don't show up in Magical Sight. She does hear and feel and smell them, though, so she knows they're there. She's justifiably creeped out as all getup by that. All the other wizards at least see them normally.
- The old man in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" has an eye like this, which provokes the main character to kill him.
- At the climax of the Ted Dekker book Saint, the title character removes the sunglasses he's wearing and his startled nemesis informs him that his eyes are white.
- In the Warrior Cats series, Blind Seer Jayfeather is often drawn this way in fanart and he appears like this on at least one foreign edition cover, even though in the books he's described as having rather normal eyes. Rock, on the other hand, has "sightless eyes" mentioned in his physical description, so we can assume the only way a cat could tell by sight that another is blind is because the blind cat has eyes that look like this.
- Amanda has eyes like these in Comes The Blind Fury.
- Etheleldra from The Tygrine Cat is a Blind Seer who permanently has her third eyelids covering her eyes, creating this effect.
- As the picture suggests, Isaac Mendez, along with Usutu and Matt, in Heroes.
- Cassandra Carver, the Blind Seer in Smallville.
- Geordi from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Then in the movies he gets bionic eyes that look more (or less) like regular ones. Before this, he used a VISOR which gave him a variety of visual abilities ranging from infra-red to seeing the "auras" of electromagnetic machines — but not the ability to see things such as sunsets, in any form except on their composite level. Apparently seeing a sunset as a series of infrared and ultraviolet rays really sucks the beauty out of it. The implants have the same visual range, but are more advanced and allow Geordi to control which parts of the electromagnetic spectrum he sees at any given time.
Justified (though the writers probably didn't know it), inasmuch as perceived colors have relatively little to do with actual physical properties. There any many different ways a given color can be made with light, and Geordi might have trouble associating combinations of measured frequencies with colors. Also, the VISOR would not be able to duplicate the opponent process of human color vision and still convey all the information Geordi can apparently see.
- The guys in Testees after being temporarily blinded by pineapple shampoo.
- The various Black Lodge dopplegangers in Twin Peaks have white eyes to distinguish them from those they are imitating. This is used to highlight their supernatural natures and to be very freaky.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- Vampires started off with blank white eyes in their vampiric forms, as an homage to Evil Dead. However, a combination of Executive Meddling and concerns about making Angel look attractive even in his vamp form led to the design gradually becoming less demonic and more feral. Monsters of the Week such as the Gentlemen, though, are still prone to having them.
- Whenever Willow makes intensive use of magic, her eyes turned pitch-black. When she buffed up Buffy with magic to fight Adam, Buffy's eyes turned gold/yellow. In the series finale, when using the scythe to activate all the potential slayers, her eyes (and hair) turned white, hinting she was using powerful white magic.
- A blind assassin on Angel, as well as three children.
- Cordelia also has them while she's having a vision (or just using her new powers), after being changed into a half-demon. Before that, her eyes remained normal, but she felt excruciating pain until the vision ended.
- Played somewhat straight by Chiana of Farscape in Season 3 where after possession by an energy rider she is able to have flashes of the future, followed by blindness of increasing severity as the series wore on. The ability changed in Season 4 from future flashes to time slowing down, resulting in permanent blindness. In the miniseries these were replaced with eyes that were probably bionic, which removed any prophetic abilities but gave her X-ray vision.
- In Babylon 5, after becoming the Trope Namer for Touched by Vorlons, Lyta's eyes had a tendency to do this when demonstrating her powers.
- Warhammer gives us an example of this trope in the beastmen of Khorne, known as Khorngor. Rather than being psychic or insightful in any way, they're Blood Knights and some of them are even Anti-Magic. These eyes are a trait they share with many of Khorne's Daemons as well.
- Alahazra, Pathfinder's iconic oracle.
- Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Dungeon Master's Guide II introduces unique abilities for NPCs, among which is "Prophet", identified by solid white eyes with no pupils (yet still able to see).
- The Regional Fairies from Gunnerkrigg Court.
- The Geisterdamen in Girl Genius. They are implied to be extradimensional beings of some sort.
- Mokurei in Kurenai Mashin (title character btw) is an elven assassin who is blind. Of course, while he can't see physical things, he can see spells the other characters cast. http://km.comicgenesis.com/
- Dead people all have blank white eyes, whether as ghosts manifesting in the real world, or in the afterlife. For added symbolism, Aradia, the first ghost in the comic, also has foreknowledge of the future. Oddly, some of these ghosts are of a species whose sclera are normally yellow-orange.
- Terezi is a different case; she's alive, but had her eyes burned out into blank red. She is also a Blind Seer.
- Unintentionally Pretentious
- Subverted: while Mia is blind, her eyes generally look normal when open.
- Played straight when Sydney buys white Naruto-style contact lenses from Luthor's store to temporarily blind herself in order to relate to Mia better.
- And later for Sydney's Toph cosplay.
- Used in Commander Kitty to differentiate between "Evil" Zenith and "Good" Zenith. Or simply to show that she's really, really angry.
- Herobrine, the ghost said to haunt the game Minecraft, is described and depicted as looking like a normal player model, but with blank white eyes.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender
- The blind Earthbending master Toph Bei Fong. Her eyes are a very light, milky blue. At one point, Aang has a horrific dream showing the end of the world. A part of it features Toph gazing soulessly at him with white eyes before she's dragged into the ground. Creepy.
- Also, the Avatar's eyes glow bright white when they enter the Avatar State.
- Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: Sonic's fangirl Sonette had these eyes, probably to emphasize her nature.
- The dragon Grougaloragran in Western Animation/Wakfu has milky white eyes. It is implied that he can only see by sensing the Life Energy, or Wakfu, of everything around him.
- Corneal opacity can indeed result from congenital/hereditary defects, some diseases (eg river blindness, trachoma), or injury (eg chemical burn), sometimes resembling this trope.
- Some blind people have their eyes more or less permanently rolled up, which can give an impression of whiteness. Usually the eyes are half-closed, though, and/or there's a bit of iris showing at the top.