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Mistaken for Bad Vision

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That moment when you see something weird, incomprehensible or even Makes Just as Much Sense in Context, you need to clean your glasses with a handkerchief, for those who wear glasses, clean your eyes with your hands if you don't, or you need to go to the doctor to check your eyesight to see whether it is alright.

This is often Played for Laughs and used for some awkward situations.

For the extreme versions, go to Brain Bleach and These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know, as this trope isn't related to things that are too horrifyingly creepy or squicky.

Related to You Can See That, Right?. A Sister Trope to No More for Me, when the character blames alcohol.

Compare Seen-It-All Suicide, when the person decides to off themselves after seeing something weird. Compare and contrast Through the Eyes of Madness, when that trope applies to someone who has actual eyesight issues. Contrast also Blind Without 'Em and Seen It All. A form of Cringe Comedy.


Anime and Manga

  • Photon: The Idiot Adventures: Photon sees his reflection in the mirror-like walls of Keyne's bedchamber, and notices the katakana for baka (idiot) on his forehead. Photon closes his eyes and shakes his head, as these marks must be an illusion. They're not: his flighty sister Aun scribbled them on Photon while he slept. Later, Keyne sees baka on her forehead, and likewise closes her eyes and shakes her head in disbelief. Alas, Photon drew the katakana on Keyne, because he couldn't think of anything better to do with a naked young woman lying on her bed.

Comic Books

  • A Defied Trope in one Justice League of America crossover story, in which the Dodo and Mxyzptlk fiddle with the Metropolis and Looney Tunes universes. One crossover has Superman trade places with Elmer Fudd, producing a diminutive Flying Brick with a Speech Impediment. Bugs Bunny takes one look at the transformed Elmer and declares: "My eyes can't be playing tricks on me; not with all the carrots I eat."
  • Bone: Bone is lost in the spooky woods, when he catches sight of another Bone. This has to be an illusion, so Bone rubs his eyes with an Unsound Effect "squinky squinky." The other Bone is real: it's Phoney Bone, recently expelled from Bonetown.
  • Played seriously in The Pitt. The Witness is a permanently intangible, invisible superhuman - essentially a ghost. Jenny "Spitfire" Swensen is the pilot of a flying Powered Armor suit. They glimpse each other while exploring the crater where Pittsburgh used to be - and both assume they're hallucinating or seeing things due to exhaustion. The Witness is normally invisible, so the big red flying robot can't have seen him. And flying robots don't exist anyway, do they?

Film – Animated

  • An Extremely Goofy Movie: When Goofy arrives at Max's college bursts into class in full 1970's getup, Bobby asks Max, "Is my vision blurred, or does that look like your dad?".


  • When Semi, planewrecked in Dr. Franklin's Island, sees a piglet with human hands before it bolts, she immediately second guesses herself. Her eyesight is terrible and she lost her contacts in the crash, and it's been weeks since the crash and she's aware that she and the other survivors are developing some odd obsessions, so she also thinks it might be a sign of going crazy.
  • A Christmas Carol: One of the first signs that something's going on is when Scrooge sees his door knocker temporarily turn into a face; he blames it on his poor eyesight and heads inside.

Live-Action TV

  • In an episode of The Six Million Dollar Man, an elderly man sees Steve sprinting across a field at his top speed. He then turns to his wife and says he needs a new pair of glasses.
  • In the Worzel Gummidge episode "The Fair Old Pullover", Mrs. Braithwaite sees Worzel (who's a scarecrow that, unbeknownst to her, is sentient) in the shop window. Initially, she thinks it's because she needs a new pair of reading glasses, but then she decides that "[her] eyesight's good enough to know a scarecrow when [she] see[s] one."
  • In the occasional Bewitched episode, Gladys the Neighbor was frequently spying on Darrin and Samantha's home. Gladys rubs her eyes and often gets more than she bargains for.
  • The Nutt House: The Blind Without 'Em elevator operator Freddy gets a new pair of glasses that will finally let him see well. Then he sees Always Identical Twins walk past and assumes that the new glasses are giving him double vision, so he throws them away.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "Timeslides", Kryten takes his eyes out and rubs them against his body after seeing a polaroid in which the image is moving.

Western Animation

  • In The Flintstones episode "Itty Bitty Fred", Fred's homemade reducing formula shrinks him to the size of a mouse; when Dino sees him he freaks out. Later in the episode Wilma gets a call that Dino is at a vet trying to get prescription glasses, which he is shown wearing later and after seeing tiny Fred again he breaks them and starts sobbing.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In one Sylvester the Cat and Tweety Bird cartoon, Sylvester is hiding in Granny's knitting basket, and his fur gets caught up in her knitting. Sylvester knits his fur back in place, along with Granny's scarf, and he ends up with multicolored checks on his bottom half. Upon seeing this, Granny cleans her glasses and blames her astigmatism.
    • "Punch Trunk" is about people reacting to the sight of a tiny elephant wandering around the city. One such person is just coming out of the optometrist; when he sees the elephant, he goes back to punch the optometrist in the face.
  • Muppet Babies (2018): "Win a Twin" begins with Gonzo spinning around as he plays with his Zorna action figure, making himself dizzy. When he sees Scooter and Skeeter, he says "I think I'm still a little dizzy from spinning, cause' I'm seeing two of you!", until Skeeter assures him that there are two of them.
  • Phineas and Ferb: A proxy variant, doubles as Cassandra Truth. Candace sees Phineas and Ferb performing onstage and brings her mom Linda over to look. By the time Linda gets there, somebody else is performing onstage, so she takes Candace to get an eye exam. Ironically, the performer who was actually onstage — "Marty the rabbit boy and his musical blender" — is an even stranger sight that nobody questions.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants episode "My Pretty Seahorse". While SpongeBob is taking care of Mystery the seahorse in the Krusty Krab, Mr. Krabs sees Mystery puke out Old Man Jenkins after eating him. Mr. Krabs plucks off his eyestalks to clean them, thinking he has bad eyesight.
    Mr. Krabs: So, my eyes are correct! You still have that horse after I ordered you to get rid of it!