[[quoteright:285:[[Film/TheyLive http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/TheyLive.jpg]]]]

->''"Put the glasses on! ''PUT 'EM ON!''"''
-->-- '''Roddy Piper''', ''Film/TheyLive''

The world is the way it is. Or so [[AncientConspiracy they]] would have you believe but there is something more, something underneath the thin skin of this world, something which can't be normally seen by human eyes. How can you see it then? Why, with special glasses, of course.

These can come in a variety of forms: regular sunglasses, X-ray specs ordered from the back of a comic book, hagstones, or special amulets. You can see ByTheEyesOfTheBlind, those InvisibleToNormals, and the {{Masquerade}}. You've broken the WeirdnessCensor on your eyes.

Now, the only question is: Is this a good thing?

Despite what the title may imply, this has nothing to do with XRayVision. Compare with the GogglesDoSomethingUnusual. A subtrope of TrueSight.



* Lingerie company Agent Provocateur had a handsome secret agent donning his L'Agent sunglasses and being able to see all the woman at a party wearing AP's 2013 Winter Catalogue. When one of the women starts giving him a lapdance, our hero is [[AllJustADream woken up by his foreman on a construction site and told to get back to work]].

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''VisualNovel/{{Tsukihime}}'' reverses this. Its main character wears special glasses that ''hide'' the "lines of death" [[CursedWithAwesome which he is otherwise forced to see]].
* ''Manga/FrankenFran'' took this trope and applied it to a pair of eyes that the title character created and implanted in a painter. The eyes allowed him to see light and color spectra that normal humans couldn't see. Unfortunately, this caused him to see all sorts of EldritchAbomination that are usually invisible to humans. [[spoiler:He ends up falling in love with one of them]]. It is not insignificant to note that this is one of the ''happier'' endings in the series.
* One chapter of ''Manga/ToLoveRu'' has Rito put on a special pair of glasses that Lala uses to work on her inventions. As this is ''[[{{Ecchi}} To Love Ru]]'', the glasses just happen to make him see through women's clothing.
* It's not quite the glasses that does it in ''Manga/{{Arago}}'' - it's rather the cream that Joe applies to them that gives him the ability to see the monsters and ghosts in London otherwise invisible to the naked eye.
* This is how Kazumi learned the truth about Yuuji's [[MacGuffinSuperPerson status as a Torch]] in ''LightNovel/ShakuganNoShana'', after she was given an eyepiece that allowed normal humans like herself to see the waning flame of a human-turned-Torch (which, under normal circumstances, would mean that said human would soon [[RetGone retroactively vanish from existence]]).
* One of the seven detective gadgets in ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'' provides this ability. Rarely used.

* The movie ''Film/TheyLive'' is built around this trope: the main character played by Wrestling/RoddyPiper finds a box of sunglasses and when he puts one on, he can see the hidden aliens among them, as well as signs saying "Consume," "Marry and Reproduce," and money printed with "This is your God" on it.
* On the pseudo-scientific side, ecto-goggles allowed the Franchise/{{Ghostbusters}} to detect invisible ghosts and other psycho-kinetic anomalies visually. They turn up in the [[Film/{{Ghostbusters 1984}} original film]], the [[Film/GhostbustersII sequel]], and much of the spinoff media. [[http://www.freewebs.com/gbta/weapons&playsets/goggles.jpg There was even a toy.]]
* In ''Film/HellboyIITheGoldenArmy'', Johan Krauss obtains eyewear that enables the BPRD team to see through magical beings' [[GlamourFailure glamour]].
** Including that of Hellboy himself. Even though he isn't really using glamour, as he physically broken his horns off and then filed them down.
* The original movie ''Film/ThirteenGhosts'' in 1960 used special glasses to see the ghosts. Ditto for the remake, ''Film/Thir13enGhosts'', in 2001.
** The original even included faint outlines of the ghosts that could be seen with the complimentary color filter cardboard glasses.
* ''For Your Height Only'' (1981), the Filipino ''Film/JamesBond'' spoof, has the dwarf secret agent hero equipped with see-through glasses that he uses to check out some secretaries naked and see a couple of villains (also shown naked) hiding behind the curtains.
* ''X! The Man With X-Ray Eyes'' starts out as a straight-up case of XRayVision but the protagonist's eyesight eventually starts to see ''something'' that can't be attributed simply to that.
* ''Film/TheWhispererInDarkness''. The protagonist is unimpressed when a man turns up with a photograph of a creature his father supposedly shot, yet there's nothing to be seen because they're allegedly made up of 'a different kind of matter'. Until one of the scientists uses a parallax viewer, revealing the creepy sight of a StarfishAlien Mi-Go.
* Film/JamesBond had a few pairs. First, in ''Film/AViewToAKill'', he had a pair of glasses with adjustable polarization, which allowed him to see through one-way mirrors. In ''Film/TheWorldIsNotEnough'', the tinted lenses gave him quasi-X-Ray vision. He used them to see concealed weapons [[PowerPerversionPotential and lingerie]].
* In ''Film/IfLooksCouldKill'', Michael Corben gets X-ray glasses as part of his superspy gear.

* [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hagstone Hagstones]], also called "serpent's eggs" and "witch stones," were said to protect against the evil eye and prevent nightmares and cure whooping cough.

* The plot of the ''Literature/GiveYourselfGoosebumps'' book ''Zombie School'' is kicked off when your character [[ClassClown horses around with the teacher's monocle]] and gets a good look at which of the students are mindlessly obedient zombies. It also provides a good look at the subliminal messages and so forth.

* The ''Literature/MerkabahRider'' has glasses which allow him to see spirits and other nasties in human form.
* In ''Literature/TheSpiderwickChronicles'', the main human characters have to look through a hole in a stone (also called a hagstone or adder stone, in the books, a "seeing stone") to see the fairy creatures when they don't want to be seen.
* In Piers Anthony's ''Literature/WithATangledSkein'', there is a pair of glasses that allows the wearer to actually see the wages of sin people are piling on themselves in Hell. {{Satan}} was trying to get people into Hell on the installment plan: for each level, you had to sacrifice 1% of your good. (There are hundreds of levels.) These looked tempting to live people and Incarnations without the glasses; with them, not so much.
* The hole-in-a-stone variation also appears in Neil Gaiman's ''Literature/{{Coraline}}'', where the heroine used one to find the souls of the other children.
* Creator/WilliamSleator's ''Literature/TheBoyWhoReversedHimself'' had a set of glasses created by four-dimensional creatures that allowed you to see around clothes (and everything else) by giving you 4D vision, somehow.
* Vivian Vande Velde's ''Now You See It...''
* In the ''Literature/AlcatrazSeries'', many of the Lenses work like this, from the Oculator's Lenses that allow them to detect powerful magic and other Oculators, the Tracker's Lenses which let them track people by magic footprints, to the [[TranslatorMicrobes Translator's Lenses.]]
* In the Creator/RobertSheckley short story ''Is THAT What People Do?'', a man ends up with a pair of half-functional binoculars which let him peep in on a series of bizarre scenes which may or may not be actually happening. In the end [[spoiler: he looks in the other end of the binoculars, and sees a pair of enormous eyes, one of which winks at him.]]
* The Creator/StephenKing short story ''[[Literature/NightmaresAndDreamscapes The Ten O'Clock People]]'' has the WeirdnessCensor become broken by, of all things, moderate smoking. For some reason the chemicals in cigarettes let people see thru the monsters' disguises, but only if you ingest them at a rate somewhere between "smoke occasionally" and "chain smoking."
* In ''Literature/ThePhantomTollbooth'' Milo is given a magical spyglass that allows him to see things as they really are.
* The Creator/RobertBloch short story "The Cheaters" features glasses that let you read people's minds. Being a Robert Bloch story, it doesn't end well.
* "Mad" Larkin's scope in the ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' novel series ''Literature/GauntsGhosts'' explicitly functions this way on at least one occasion (seeing through a psychic illusion caused by some Eldar in ''Ghostmaker'') and in a less literal sense in general - Larkin is somewhat unhinged, and he mentions earlier in the book that he sees things clearly only when he's looking through his scope. Given how the 40k universe works, it's likely that it was ''because'' of his madness and unwavering faith in his scope that he could see the through the illusion.
* Hans Christian Andersen's story ''Literature/TheSnowQueen'' involves a mirror that reflects only bad things. It does technically reveal things about people that are hidden but more importantly it hides the whole truth.
* In ''Literature/TheBartimaeusTrilogy'', magicians possess magical glasses which allow them to see into the second and third planes. Djinn and other magical creatures can be invisible/disguised in this plane, and the glasses enable a human to see them in a true(r) form.
** Some of the citizens rules by magicians develop the ability to [[spoiler: see the djinnis in a similar manner without such contacts, or see the aura of magical creatures]], which becomes a rather important plot point.
* The Creator/{{Infocom}} novel ''VideoGame/{{Wishbringer}}'' involves a pair of apparent joke glasses that allow one to tell whether something is magic.
* In ''Literature/{{Midnighters}}'', anything that hasn't been touched by midnight is blurry to Rex. Since most things haven't, he wears glasses, but if something ''has'', it's blurry when he's wearing them (and clear when he's not). That is, until the second book, when [[spoiler:he becomes a halfling, then changes back, and no longer needs them]].
* Jeff Vandermeer's Literature/{{Ambergris}} novel ''Shriek'' has [[spoiler: the organic-tech glasses that Duncan gives Janice so that she can see a Grey Cap's-eye-view of the city]],
* In Roman Glushkov's ''Steel Loop'' (a part of the ''Death Zone'' series), Diamond Mongoose has 100-carat diamonds in various parts of his body as the result of an anomalous accident in one of the Zones. One of these is in place of his right eye. This diamond allows him to see trails of moving objects larger than a bird (not that there are any birds in the Zones). This is overlaid over his normal vision like a [=HUD=] projection.
* In Creator/PhilipKDick's short story, "Faith of Our Fathers", it's an anti-hallucinogenic drug [[spoiler:that neutralizes the hallucinogen in the water that makes everybody perceive the Party Leader as a human being. In actuality, it's not clear exactly what he is, but it's implied that he's some kind of godlike entity that feeds on humanity.]]
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'':
** Luna Lovegood's Spectrespecs, which allow her to see "wrackspurts," invisible creatures that float into people's ears and cloud their brains.
** Mad-Eye Moody's magical glass eye, which allows him to see in all directions and through solid objects and illusions.
* It's suggested in ''Discworld/{{Hogfather}}'' that the reason Mr Teatime can see things that are InvisibleToNormals may be that his glass eye is made out of a scrying crystal.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/DoctorWho''
** In the TwoPartEpisode "Army of Ghosts"/"Doomsday," the Doctor wears a pair of 3-D glasses designed to see the residual stuff from the void between universes.
** In a pre-movie introduction to the 3D "Day of the Doctor", he tells the audience to test their 3D glasses by closing one eye and looking at the person next to them. "If one of the spectacles has turned black, then that person is a Zygon and is going to eat you some time during the movie. [[ThisIsNoTimeToPanic Please, don't panic.]] It will only disturb everyone else and there's really nothing we can do to save you."
* The ''Series/AreYouAfraidOfTheDark'' episode "Tale of the Super Specs," partially inspired by ''They Live''.
* The gozarian glasses in ''Series/TheMiddleman'' allow people to see (but not hear) ghosts.
* One episode of ''Series/{{Reaper}}'' has Sam get a pair of glasses which will supposedly allow him to see the true forms of demons. This effect has not been shown, though.
* In the ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' episode "Scientific Method", the Doctor figures out there are invisible aliens on the ship and modifies Seven's Borg eye implant to detect them. When she opens her eyes again, she can see the aliens -- ''everywhere''. And they're doing [[NightmareFuel horrible things]] to the crew...
* In the fourth season premiere of ''Series/{{Charmed}}'', Piper and Phoebe enchant a pair of sunglasses so that the wearer can see the true form of evil beings.

* Myths of TheFairFolk sometimes feature magical ointments which, rubbed on one's eyelids, allow one to see the faerie. One common scenario is when a man accidentally splashes some of this substance on one of his eyes, then is deprived of it -- the eye, not the ointment -- by an irate fey who dislikes being observed. A variant has a midwife, who is given the ointment so she can assist with a faerie birth, but secretly keeps some of it with the same consequences.
** This is referenced in one ''Thor'' comic - Thor enters Faerie in order to rescue a woman, and is accompanied by a retired soldier. They find a vial of ointment on a defeated fae soldier, but there's only enough for one of them; the soldier gets it, because Thor, being a god, can see the true face of Faerie (albeit hazily) and doesn't need it. [[spoiler:When the Dark Elf Malekith attempts to blind the soldier later, the plate in the man's head keeps him from losing his sight... but he ''does'' lose the effect of the ointment.]]
** In one Slavic tale, such an ointment attracts the attention of a bandit when he accompanies his leader to a peacemaking meeting at the local lord's palace. Using it reveals that the palace is a ruin, the other guests are dead trees, the lord's men are hounds, and the lord is {{Satan}} himself.
* The ancient Chinese believed that rubbing a dog's tears on their eyes will allow them to see the spirits of the undead.

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* In ''ComicStrip/FoxTrot'', Jason pretends to have a pair of these in order to drive Paige crazy.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' has a spell called ''True Seeing'' which allows you to see through any illusions or glamors placed on an object. In theory, it is possible to enchant any object with ''True Seeing'', including glasses, other clothing items, and even light sources (sort of like an anti-illusion field).
* ''TabletopGame/CallOfCthulhu'' campaign ''The Fungi From Yuggoth''. It has a pair of spectacles that allowed the wearer to see into another dimension (with the usual impossible angles and bizarre perspectives). Each time you use them, there is a chance you could see a monster that could attack and kill you if you don't take them off in time.
** Which is basically a man-portable version of the Tillinghast Resonator from Creator/HPLovecraft's story "Literature/FromBeyond".
* ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}: Artifacts'' has "The Mask of Maaukepu". If you look at someone while wearing it there's a small chance you'll see the worst thing that person has ever done.

* The [[MaskOfPower Mask of Detection]] in ''Toys/{{Bionicle}}''.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/MegaManStarForce'', Geo Stelar has the Visualizer, a pair of glasses that lets him see the wave world
* The Lens of Truth in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'' and ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaMajorasMask Majora's Mask]]'' is purported to see through illusions, as well as see invisible or hidden elements. Likewise, the Cross in ''VideoGame/ZeldaIITheAdventureOfLink'' allows Link to see invisible enemies (namely Moas).
* This is one of the mechanics in ''VideoGame/TheSimpsonsBartVsTheSpaceMutants''. Your X-ray specs show which people are disguised aliens.
* The Silph Scope in ''VideoGame/PokemonRedAndBlue'' allowed the player to see the real form of wild ghost Pokemon.
** The [[VideoGame/PokemonRubyAndSapphire games set in Hoenn]] have the Devon Scope, which allows the player to see invisible Pokemon. Though it only needs to be used once to progress, there are several other hidden Pokemon in the routes near Fortree and Lilycove.
** In the ''Mystery Dungeon'' spinoffs, Goggle Specs play a similar role to the Devon Scope, plus the ability to see traps.
** An eyepiece known as the Aura Reader exists in ''XD''; it allows the wearer to sense the dark aura of a Shadow Pokemon. It also serves as the restraining bolt, locking the Snag Machine's function as long as a Shadow Pokemon is not on the field.
* Much gameplay in ''Creator/TomClancy's VideoGame/SplinterCell'' revolves around using your military-grade goggles at opportune points. Night vision is easily explained away, otherwise you'd be playing a black screen half the time. A data stick provided by a neutralized enemy in the first game reveals that [[JustifiedTrope the mines around the compound Sam is infiltrating are designed to be visible to thermal cameras so that allies can see the mines and avoid them]]. Thermal vision also gets more unique uses as the series goes on; from ''Pandora Tomorrow'' alone it's used to identify a man with a [[ArtificialLimbs prosthetic leg]] in one mission, then much later to identify a group of terrorists who [[spoiler:are planning to detonate a smallpox bomb in an airport, and are running a high fever because they've recently vaccinated themselves as a precaution]].
* The premise of ''VideoGame/{{Flashback}}'' is that the protagonist created special glasses that allowed him to see the density of objects. As he walked around with them on, he noticed that [[AlienAmongUs some people]] were [[ShapeshifterBaggage much heavier than they should be]]...
* ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamAsylum'' has Detective Mode, which has functions including X-ray, forensic tracker, vital sign monitoring, weapon detection, and point-of-interest detection. This is treated as a combination of a scanner in Batman's cowl, and "seeing the world through Batman's eyes". The Joker, in the [=PS3=]-exclusive content, has X-ray specs which have that function and nothing else.
* ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryII'' has X-ray specs which can be bought at one point in the game and serve no purpose other than to [[EasterEgg let you see]] [[FanService pixelated boobies]]. And [[KarmaMeter take a bite out of your Honor]].
* In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiStrangeJourney'', one of the functions of the Demon Summoning Program is to turn the electronic HUD of your Demonica armor into one of these -- only [[ByTheEyesOfTheBlind someone with this program installed to their Demonica]] can see the demons inhabiting the Schwarzwelt -- and even then, it has limitations.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Bayonetta}}'', Luka can see the angels if he uses Cereza's glasses. Cereza herself says "[[GogglesDoNothing The glasses aren't magic]] silly, I can see the monsters without them".
** When handing them to him though, she does tap the lenses with her finger doing "Something" magical to them, if the brief flash of light that results is anything to go by.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}},'' the protagonist and his [[TrueCompanions nakama]] are able to see inside of the T.V. world and fight the shadows there thanks to special glasses (or, at least the lenses are special) that are made by the resident mascot character, Teddie, because "he gets bored when left alone." Bonus points for, during the game's true ending, [[spoiler: having the protagonist discard his glasses--no longer needing them to see the Truth--and use his EleventhHourSuperPower against the Mistress of all of the fog and mystery, Izanami]].
* The Dark Visor in ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime2Echoes'' allows Samus to see objects and elements that are either invisible, or cross-dimensional (between the Light and Dark Worlds).
** The X-Ray Visor in ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime'' lets Samus see through fake and destructible objects, and reveals invisible things. It is the only way to keep Chozo Ghosts visible.
** Despite being called the "X-Ray Scope", when [[VideoGame/SuperMetroid Samus]] uses it, invisible objects appear, objects that aren't really there disappear, objects that require a specific weapon to destroy (Normal Bomb, Super Missile, Power Bomb, or Speed Booster) show an icon of that weapon, and Pit Blocks (the ones that crumble when you try to walk on them) are revealed.
* As in Film above, Franchise/JamesBond uses these.
** In ''VideoGame/AgentUnderFire'', they allow him to see hidden panels.
** In ''VideoGame/{{Nightfire}}'', they allow him to see enemies behind walls (their skeletons register as pink blobs against a blue background).
** Bond's erstwhile counterpart, [[VideoGame/GoldeneyeRogueAgent GoldenEye]], has MRI Vision thanks to his bionic eye-implant.
* In ''VideoGame/CliveBarkersUndying'', using the Scrye magic allows Patrick to see or hear the past, reveal hidden truths or creepy foreshadowing.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Faria}}'', the MadScientist's Magic Glasses allow you to see InvisibleMonsters.
* The first two ''[[VideoGame/DarkFall Dark Fall]]'' games feature special eyewear that lets you see ghosts, InvisibleWriting, and even into the past.
* In ''VideoGame/TheDarksideDetective'', a View-Master toy, with the addition of the appropriate occult symbols, becomes an artifact that lets the possessor see and hear ghosts.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* The first storyline of webcomic ''{{Veena}}'' has the title character find shades that let her [[ISeeDeadPeople see ghosts]].
* ''Webcomic/PennyBlackfeather'' has spirit glasses that let you see snow spirits and whatnot.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLifeAndTimesOfJuniperLee'' uses a magical amulet instead of glasses, but the effect remains the same.
* The opening of ''WesternAnimation/MenInBlack: The Animated Series'' shows a special visor that lets you see if someone is an alien in disguise.
* In the episode "Germs", ''WesternAnimation/InvaderZim'' bought a pair of goggles that allowed him to see the (normally invisibly tiny) [[NightmareFuel teeming masses of bacteria covering everything and everyone]]. They even came in a [[HardLight holographic trial version]].
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheThirteenGhostsOfScoobyDoo'', hiding out in an abandoned funhouse allowed Shaggy and Scooby to see what the carnival was really like.
* In the first ''WesternAnimation/WinxClub'' movie, ''[[TheMovie The Secret of the Lost Kingdom]]'', Bloom's sister Daphne gives her mask, which allows Bloom to see her home planet Domino as it looked before the Ancestral Witches froze it.
* Puff's smoke rings have this effect in ''WesternAnimation/PuffTheMagicDragon''. Looking through them allows Puff and jackie to see that the giant pirate Very Long secretly wants to be a baker.
* Troubles the Cat's Troublescope in the short lived Creator/SesameWorkshop series ''Big Bag'' allows Troubles (and thus the audience) to see how a character is really feeling.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'': In the ''WesternAnimation/OhYeahCartoons'' short "Scout's Honor", Timmy's fairies take him to the Mythical Forest. It looks like any other forest to the naked eye, so they give him a pair of magic glasses to see it.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* You can buy glasses that are a sort of prism. They reveal the actual colors given off by lights. These are probably using diffraction gratings -- essentially pieces of glass or plastic with lots of tiny parallel lines etched into them (mechanically or by hologram). This separates incoming light into its component colors for rainbow vision. Higher-precision versions are the basic components of spectroscopes.
* Polarized glasses allow you to see, among other nifty things, density distortions in glass. And it's easy to make a stronger version using something that emits polarized light to see the distortions in water caused by anything moving through it.
** There's an LCD mod where you can have your LCD seemingly emit white light and by wearing special glasses, you can see what's on the screen. It's actually taking one of the polarization filters out and turning it into glasses.
* Some material is transparent to infrared rays, but opaque to the visible spectrum. This makes InfraredXrayCamera very partially TruthInTelevision