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Glass Eye

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They don't call him "Mad-Eye" for nothing.

"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 'til they match!"
Sandi Toksvig, QI, "Hypothetical"

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.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Gauche Adlai in Black Clover has a mirror where his left eye would be that lets him store mana for future use, boost the strength of his spells, and duplicate anyone he sees with it.
  • 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.
  • In The Voynich Hotel, Helena, one of the maids, has an artificial right eye that falls out when she and Taizou Kuzuki inspect the boiler room. She covers it up with a variety of eyepatches for a while, but Kuzuki, feeling guilty about watching her lose it, buys her a replacement.
  • Fairy Tail, Erza lost her eye as a young girl after being tortured by her jailers. She's eventually given an artificial eye that cannot shed tears (at first) but can also No-Sell illusions based on eye contact.
  • Remorseless hoodlum Muscular from My Hero Academia lost an eye to the last Heroes he killed before being captured, and wears an odd lens-like prosthesis over his empty socket
  • Lupin III: Part II: during his second appearance, Phantoma Mark has both eyes made of glass, and in one scene his assistant pulls them out of their sockets and proceeds to wash them.

    Comic Books 
  • Kabuki: While kabuki is stuck in prison, a fellow agent switches her glass eye with a guard's. Her eye is smaller so the guard's 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.
  • Recurring ineffectual villain Doktor Kreuzer from Alan Ford is revealed to have a glass eye when Alan elbows him in the abdomen, causing the eye to pop out. As part of a minor goof, which eye is the glass one seems to depend from story to story.
  • In Maus, Vladek discusses his glass eye and how he's losing vision in his remaining eye due to cataracts. He tells Art a story of how a young doctor told him that the glass eye looked perfectly healthy during an examination.

    Films — Animation 
  • Ms. Crawley, the elderly lizard in Sing has a glass eye, which kicks off the plot when it falls out and presses the "0" key on her keyboard twice, increasing the prize for the singing competition to 100,000 dollars.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Art of the Dead, Father Mendale has a glass from when he gouged his own eye out to free himself from the influence of the Envy painting.
  • Michael Burry from The Big Short lost an eye due to a childhood illness. He discusses it, to the discomfort of the candidate he's interviewing, and a flashback shows the eye popping out due to a hard tackle during a football game.
  • Captain Marvel (2019) finally shows how Fury lost his eye, and in the end, Coulson presents him with a selection of glass eyes as a replacement. Given that all his other appearances show him with his trademark Eyepatch of Power, he apparently chose to forego using one.
  • 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. Since it's Kurt Russell playing this character, it could be a comedic Shout-Out to his more famous character, Snake Plissken.
  • In Gangs of New York, Bill "The Butcher" Cutting put 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.
  • Mr. Benedict in Last Action Hero has a selection of glass eyes, some of which double as bombs. Each of them with different motifs for the iris (such as a Happy Face or a target or a crosshair).
  • In None Shall Escape, Wilhelm gets one after losing his left eye to a stone thrown by Jan. It gives Marja an opportunity to snark at him.
    Wilhelm: What are you staring at?
    Marja: I'm trying to see one spark of pity.
    Wilhelm: In which eye?
    Marja: The left one.
    Wilhelm: [chuckles] That's the glass one.
    Marja: I know.
  • 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. In At World's End, 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.
  • 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 Valkyrie, Stauffenberg wears a cosmetic eye on formal occasions and an Eyepatch of Power on normal ones.
  • The Smokers' leader in Waterworld gets a plastic eye. Arguably, it looked more disgusting than the empty socket, so he switches to an eyepatch.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the Toon who really killed Marvin Acme uses two of these to cover up his ever-shifting red eyes as part of his Human Disguise. He fits the glass eyes into the eyeholes of his rubber mask, and he appears to have no trouble seeing through them.

Jewish joke from bad days. A KZ. The SS man says to the jew: "Today is my birthday, and I spare your life if you solve a riddle. I have a glass eye. Left or right?" The jew answers without hesitation: "Right, Mr. SS man!" "Damn jew, how did you know?" "It stared so kindly, Mr. SS man!"

  • Discworld
    • 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 that is the scarier, with its pinhole-sized pupil.
    • It is very briefly mentioned in Men at Arms that Lance-Constable Cuddy has a glass eye. It's been speculated that this is a subtle Shout-Out to Columbo.
  • 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. The eye itself doesn't play an overly significant role in the plot (though it plays a role) but it's one of the clues to Wednesday's real identity. Well, more the fact that he would actually need one, but still... It might also serve as an indicator that even he is changed by America, given that Iceland's Odin favors an Eyepatch of Power.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe has Frank Bennett have one glass eye, which he got after a bullet destroyed the real one. He likes to use it as a form of a joke by telling a stranger to guess which of his eyes is false, and buy them a drink if they guess correctly. Most people can't tell the difference. One old man got it right and the bartender asked how he could tell, with the old man stating that the glass eye was the one that seemed to have even a shred of human compassion in it.
  • 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 chosen 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 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.
  • Heirophant from A Practical Guide to Evil has a pair of glass eyes, made from his magic spectacles after they blew up in his original eyes due to seeing the Sun of Summer up close. He can see with them at least as well as he could with his original eyes, even through the blindfold he wears over them.
  • In Erec Rex, the title character has one, which doesn't quite match his natural eye. Most of his adoptive siblings are also disabled in some way. The first book ends with him getting a magical dragon's eye to replace it, however.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "The Glass Eye", adapted from a short story by John Keir Cross, a lifelong spinster holds onto a glass eye as a keepsake. She acquired it when she met briefly with a ventriloquist she'd fallen in love with. He actually had two glass eyes because he wasn't the ventriloquist but the dummy, and the "dummy" was a little person throwing his voice.
  • 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.
  • Columbo: Peter Falk had a glass eye, but throughout the entire run of the series there was only one hint that the same might be true of Columbo as well. In the episode "A Trace of Murder", Columbo invites Patrick Kinsley to accompany him on the investigation by saying "Three eyes are better than one!"
  • 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 eyepatch instead.
  • One of the most powerful Objects from The Lost Room was the Glass Eye. The only way to use it was to wear it.
  • Trent Kort from NCIS got himself a glass eye several years after losing a real eye to a serial killer.
  • 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.
  • Star Trek: Picard: Hugh lost his left eye after he was assimilated by the Borg, so he had it replaced with an artificial one. It's easy to distinguish the fake eye because its iris is painted blue, which doesn't match his natural brown iris.
  • 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.
  • World's Dumbest... features a Drunk Driver who tries to get out of an arrest by claiming that he has a glass eye—and then fouls it up by saying that both his eyes are glass.

  • 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.
  • The exact same thing occurs in Jack*Bot.
  • Also in The Machine Bride Of Pin Bot.
  • 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.

    Tabletop Games 


    Video Games 
  • The Legend of Spyro: The Eternal Night: Gaul is missing one eye, which is replaced with a green crystal that shoots lasers.
  • 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 to it 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 chieftain 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 II 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 Eyes. 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.
  • In Planescape: Torment, the Nameless One has a removable eye that can be replaced with a variety of things, from an ordinary glass eye (which is useless) to several extremely powerful magical eyes.
  • Assassin's Creed: Odyssey has the Cyclops, who gets his name because he's missing an eye, which he replaced with a very expensive obsidian eye that he's extremely proud of. After the Eagle Bearer gets a hold of it, they force it up the backside of a goat just to piss him off. After the boss battle, killing the goats in the area will cause one of them (determined randomly) to drop it, at which point it can be sold for a pretty good amount of money.

    Web Animation 
  • Murry Wilson of Rock 'n' Roll Dad has one glass eye that pops out when he is angry.


    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy has referenced Sandy Duncan's alleged glass eye twice: once in a Cutaway Gag where Peter had had a job as Duncan's eye, and during the Emmy Award-winning song "You've Got a Lot To See" "Sandy Duncan's creepy phony eye" is mentioned.
  • In the Justice League episode "Wild Cards", the Joker frees a bunch of super-powered youngsters from a secret government facility and makes them part of his latest scheme (or act), whereas the flashback makes it clear that the place was less than innocent, the overseer turns and reveals he has a facial scar and a glass eye as if to confirm it.
  • The Simpsons episode "The Old Man and the 'C' Student" has a cruise ship piloted by the Sea Captain collide with Mr. Burns's yacht. When Lisa asks the Sea Captain why he didn't see the yacht coming, he says he has "two glass eyes," emphasized by clinking his corncob pipe against each one.

    Real Life 
  • Sammy Davis Jr. is probably the best-known celebrity to wear an ocular prosthesis, about which he was always very un-self-conscious 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).
  • 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. A Real Life Crowning Moment of Funny: when playing baseball in high school, Falk 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."
  • Congressman Morris "Mo" Udall of Arizona, a prominent Democrat during the 1970s and '80s, wore a glass eye for most of his life, having lost an eye in a childhood accident.
  • Eclectic guitarist and composer Ry Cooder lost an eye in an accident during childhood. The accident prompted him to take up the guitar and delve into music as a means of coping.
  • 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.
  • Rich Williams of Kansas fame wore one for quite some time due to a fireworks accident during his childhood, although he eventually switched to an Eyepatch of Power.
  • King Rama IX of Thailand wore one ever since he got in a car accident a few years after ascending the throne.
  • Uma Thurman's dad has one.
  • Alice Walker of The Color Purple fame has worn one since a childhood accident with a BB gun.
  • John Kani is a relatively Reclusive Artist, but what is known is that he lost an eye after being beaten up by policemen who supported a politician who was subjected to a Take That! by a play Kani starred in.