Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises

aka: Wide Eyes And Tiny Pupils
As Pooh would say, "Oh, bother."

Calvin: What do you do, wait until you see the whites of my eyes?!
Hobbes: You should've seen them! They were as big as dinner plates!

A good sign that a character is absolutely terrified is if their eyes are bulging wide open and the irises and pupils are visibly shrunken, or even absent. This gives the impression that the character is screaming inwardly, even if they're speechless with shock. It comes across as striking and, if done well, can even be scary. Often a warning sign that the character is about to freak out. May also involve Tears of Fear.

Can also happen if a character is badly injured, with bonus points if the scene cuts away to a Scream Discretion Shot. On the flip side, it can also be used when a character is very, very angry.

If this only happens to one eye and not the other, it's a case of Mad Eyes.

See also Oh Crap!, and Open the Iris for the trope's physical opposite.

A very minor case of Artistic License – Biology: while the pupil inside the iris can indeed shrink due to fear, the iris itself does not. Regardless, most artists consider it an Acceptable Break from Reality (see Open the Iris for reasons why).note 

Alternative Title(s):

Wide Eyes And Tiny Pupils