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Opaque Nerd Glasses

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Isn't wearing opaque glasses self-defeating?

They're not coke-bottle glasses he's wearing, they're paperweights in a frame. Glasses in Comics, Manga and animated media usually come in four forms — there are tiny little things that don't get in the way (see Cool Mask), so-clear-they're-almost-not-there spectacles worn by pretty girls (a.k.a. meganekko) and handsome boys, lenses meant to hide the character's eyes from anyone who wants to get a glimpse at their soul (Scary Shiny Glasses), and then there are Opaque Nerd Glasses.

Opaque Nerd Glasses are two 4-inch disks that hide the wearer's eyes behind blank white circles, that can be marked either with thin black spiraling lines, or, in the western variant, small or hazy dots denoting pupils. In some cases, the person's eyes will stay as tiny black dots even when the glasses are taken off, possibly to indicate how bad their eyesight is, or to make them look naked without their iconic glasses. They indicate that a character is painfully geeky, and is probably Blind Without 'Em.

Female characters with Opaque Nerd Glasses often reveal that they were Beautiful All Along upon their removal. Male characters may be The Short Guy with Glasses.

This trope is found more often in comedy than in drama.

Subtrope of Nerd Glasses. Contrast with Meganekko.

See also Opaque Lenses.

Opaque Nerd Glasses often play a part in the Unwanted Glasses Plot.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Arara Cocoa from the Lamune & 40 series, though this is mostly in the TV series as she doesn't wear them in later installments of the series.
  • Invoked by Sanae in Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions! by putting them on only when she read a Book Of Doom that was likely written by Shinka.
  • Naru Narusegawa in her "nerd mode" in Love Hina. However, once Naru has obviously become the love interest in the story, The Glasses Gotta Go — and when they are seen afterward, they are no longer opaque and spiralled, but simple clear Meganekko circles. Also, in the manga, she gives her Opaque Nerd Glasses to Shinobu as a "good luck" token when the younger girl is taking exams; later, Motoko uses them for the same purpose while studying to get into Tokyo U.
  • Naru's Expy Chisame from Negima! Magister Negi Magi started with the same look, occasionally falling back into it during her moments of annoyance.
  • Makoto Takiya from Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid normally doesn't wear glasses, but he spontaneously gains the classic opaque spiral lenses when he enters "otaku mode".
  • Karin and Shiho from Naruto. Shiho's are coke-bottle glasses while Karin's have thick black frames. Interestingly, both are huge Fangirls of other characters who have yet to return their interest — Sasuke for Karin and Shikamaru for Shiho. And Udon, who loves factoring.
  • Saori of Oreimo uses them to provoke a stereotypical otaku image. Although she does like things like anime, she is more of an ojou and doesn't have much of stereotypical traits of an otaku.
  • Haruhi from Ouran High School Host Club is initially introduced wearing a pair of thick horn-rimmed glasses. The club members quickly replace them with contact lenses to show her beautiful eyes. Flashbacks show that she did not wear glasses in middle school, but this is explained — she'd lost her contacts and hadn't been able to replace them.
  • Leo from PandoraHearts. They're not there for correction, though. They're actually there for the opposite purpose and eventually, he loses them.
  • Ayaori of Penguin Revolution wears Opaque Nerd Glasses most of the time in order to keep from being recognized as Peacock's number one talent.
  • In The Prince of Tennis, characters like Sadaharu Inui and Hiroshi Yagyuu wear thick glasses that hide their eyes from sight (though Yagyuu's glasses are more Meganekko-type). In fact, a running gag in the anime is to have Inui's teammates and friends attempting to to take his glasses off and see his eyes.
  • Mousse from Ranma ˝ is an odd case: He has the glasses, but he's not a nerd. He is, however, an obsessive Stalker with a Crush with no common sense. He's Blind Without 'Em, yet never puts them on until after he has, for example, spent five minutes talking to a tree under the assumption that it's actually Shampoo. He also has a habit of taking them off to attempt something dramatic, then doing something stupid because he can't see. And even when turning into a duck, he still wear a pair of duck-sized Nerd Glasses.
  • Inverted for Reborn! (2004)'s Koyo Aoba, who evidently can't see a damn thing through his glasses, but everyone can see his eyes. This is because they apparently work similarly to Cyclops' ruby quartz visor, except instead of lasers, Koyo's glasses simply hold back the true abilities he inherited.
  • Princess Dia from Sailor Moon. In the manga, this leads the girls to speculate how another nerd, Umino, might look without his own ever-present Opaque Nerd Glasses. Word of God states that yes, Umino is completely Bishōnen without them.
  • In a flashback, it is shown that Faust VIII from Shaman King used to wear these.
  • Ginnosuke from Tokyo Underground is a good example, with thick glasses complete with spirals. When he loses them for a short time, the main character (a longtime friend) doesn't even recognize him, and a few girls find him quite attractive. Chelsea, one of the other main characters, can never remember his name and defaults to "Megane-kun". He's also a rather proficient computer hacker, and ironically fights better with the glasses off.
  • In the anime version of Urusei Yatsura, the first New Year's Special has Momotaro, a legendary Japanese hero, wearing a set of these. In fact, he looks a lot like a somewhat younger Mousse.
  • Gadgeteer Genius Parfet from Vandread. They don't have the spirals, but they are extremely opaque.
  • In The Wallflower, Kyohei wears these when he really needs to study for an exam, which distresses his fangirls as the glasses make him look much less Bishōnen than usual.
  • Makoto Ariga from Wandering Son in her first few appearances. Later on you could see her eyes at all times.
  • Eddie Sukenari from You're My Pet. Results in Bishie Sparkle and women falling all over him when he takes them off.
  • Weevil Underwood from Yu-Gi-Oh! had some like these, thought they were only opaque whenever the light caught them.
  • Carly from Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds wears a pair of large spiral glasses, although they're seen through on occasion. Once, when they fall off, she's seen with lines for eyes, but when Misty removes them in a later episode, her eyes are normal, and actually quite attractive. She loses them after Divine murders her. Well, they wouldn't really go with the Superpowered Evil Side that came with the resurrection. After Episode 59, they were all that was left of her... Fortunately, as the heroes have Deus ex Machina on their side, Death Is Cheap.
  • Maruo-kun in Chibi Maruko-chan, who has the spiral swirls to match his neurotic personality. This is a trait he gets from his mom.

    Comic Books 
  • Comic artist Scott McCloud draws himself with these in his book, Understanding Comics, and the other books in the series. No spirals, though. Also playing with it on one occasion, when he makes the point that the character he's depicting himself as doesn't really look very much like a real human — and demonstrates this by taking off his glasses, revealing there really are no eyes behind them.
  • Perhaps on a borderline of Scary Shiny Glasses and Opaque Nerd Glasses — Jonas Harrow from the Marvel universe wears spiraly glasses.
  • Superman's Nerd Glasses are sometimes Opaque Nerd Glasses, Depending on the Artist. In comics, unlike real life, the blank white circles actually do mask his appearance. Medium Awareness, anyone?
  • The Incredible Hulk: Bruce Banner's most recognizable appearance is that of a short, scrawny, lab-coat-wearing geek with completely opaque nerd glasses.
  • Spider-Man: This is true as well for Peter Parker, before his original transformation took away his defective eye sight.
  • Norby: The only characters drawn with glasses in the adaptation of Norby, the Mixed-Up Robot have just the white lenses instead of pupils or irises. For extra nerd points, they're all bird-watchers, too.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dilbert:
    • Dilbert is this trope personified.
    • Wally too. AFAIK, all eyeglasses in that strip are drawn this way.
  • Jason from FoxTrot always has his eyes covered with his trademark glasses. Even when he takes them off, he often squints.
  • Rob from Get Fuzzy originally wore these, though they were gradually phased out.
  • Honey Huan in Doonesbury, who sometimes seems like a grown-up Marcie.
  • All glasses in The Far Side are drawn this way. Female characters are also typically depicted with "cat-eye" frames - in animal panels this becomes a Tertiary Sexual Characteristic.
  • Scary Gary: The glasses that grow with/on the lab-grown nerd are opaque, as seen in the picture on the box of store-bought "LAB NERD" mix.

    Fan Works 
  • Boldores And Boomsticks: Professor Cypress, an old man dedicated to researching doomsday prophecies whom many people view as a laughingstock, wears glasses so thick you cannot see his eyes.
  • In This Toon Round - the Funny Animal version of This Time Round, the pub outside Doctor Who continuity - the character of Daibhid Chelonidae is a geeky and nervous tortoise with nearly opaque glasses. Since he's totally not based on a real person, neither are the glasses.
  • In My Hero Playthrough Hikari wore these in the past to protect her eyes from her powers. The fact that she doesn't need them in the present is part of why Mikoto doesn't recognize her.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • From Russia with Love has Rosa Klebb wearing particularly hideous thick-framed and thick-lensed glasses in many scenes.
  • In SLC Punk!, the toughest punk in Salt Lake City wears "square" clothing and a pair of nerd glasses. Other punks assume that he's a wimp and pay for it with a bloody nose.

  • Harry Potter: Moaning Myrtle's glasses have been described as this, including being so thick they hide her eyes sometimes.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg's mom is almost always drawn with these types of glasses. Without them, her eyes are black dots just like everyone else's.

    Live-Action TV 
  • One episode of Kids Incorporated has Renee getting several pairs of glasses. We see her Opaque Nerd Glasses, and it is mentioned that she has two other colours and also wears contacts for concerts. Kudos to them for at least mentioning the colour variety.
  • The Tonight Show: Ernie Kovacs' oddball poet character Percy Dovetonsils wears glasses with insanely thick lenses. The Character originated on Ernie Kovac's own show "Three to Get Ready" which had appeared on local TV station WPTZ (now KYW-TV) in Philadelphia in 1950.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959):
  • A.P. Bio: Heather wears outrageously thick far-sighted glasses, so they either magnify her eyes to huge size or completely obscure them based on the angle.

  • John Flansburgh of They Might Be Giants (the founders of nerdrock) is known for his spectacles. Bandmate John Linnell is also bespectacled, but he takes them off before going onstage.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Muppet Show
    • Scooter has thick glasses with his eyes on the lenses. His eyes are on his glasses, not his face. His Distaff Counterpart Skeeter has an identical pair on Muppet Babies.
    • At the other end of the spectrum, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew has no eyes at all behind his glasses, which gives the effect of Opaque Lenses, even though the frames are empty.

    Video Games 
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Some characters from the games have Nerd Glasses, such as Iggy Koopa, Professor E. Gadd from Luigi's Mansion and Professor Frankly from Paper Mario. These characters usually look (and sometimes sound) more Japanese than the others.
    • A few background characters in the Super Mario Adventures comic have these.
    • All Magikoopas wear these as well.
    • Fawful from the Mario & Luigi games sports these glasses, complete with spirals and crazy grin.
  • In Super Robot Wars Original Generation, Latooni wears these to begin with. But their size is actually functional, as they're used to help her collect an analyze data. When she finds herself undergoing a dramatic shift in appearance, she loses them altogether. In the remake for the Playstation 2, she is instead given a pair of Meganekko glasses. This was parodied (foreshadowed?) in a Yonkoma where several characters tried to get Ryusei to talk her into putting the glasses back on.
  • A fortune teller named Kalifa in Skies of Arcadia has a pair of the large, spiral variant. She joins your crew once you get your own ship.
  • Lucca from Chrono Trigger has these, but actually manages to be attractive despite it. Really, she's got the transparent Meganekko glasses — you can see this in all the official art and animations, as well as her character information screen. They're just opaque in-game because of sprite limitations — it's hard to denote "glasses" without them being opaque when the lenses need to be only two or three pixels wide.
  • Pokémon:
  • Modo's son in The Legendary Starfy wear some of these glasses to emphasize his genius trait. The guy built a space train all by himself, after all.
  • Mother:
  • Live Powerful Pro Baseball has the recurring Butt-Monkey Akio Yabe, the primary sidekick of the main character. Throughout the series he gets at least four identical strangers who wear the same gigantic glasses and an extended family of half-brothers who are vaguely distinguished by some kind of mark on the face, facial hair or the shape of their glasses.
  • One of the classmates in Yo-Kai Watch is a girl named Shelly with glasses like these. Her Japanese name, Shiori, can be translated as "bookmark".
  • The Fanboy smileys in Everybody Edits both come with thick white glasses. They were fairly rare, and could only be gotten by sending a creative letter to specific staff members or winning certain contests.
  • Galaxy Angel: Vermouth Matin, the youngest member of the Hell Hounds has them, adding up to the nasal voice and stereotypical nerd personality.
  • Seen on Thomas Lysander, the nerdy history professor at Thors Military Academy in the The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel games. They go away in favor of a more reasonable pair of spectacles when he drops this persona in favor of his more true position: Second Dominion of the Septian Church's Gralsritter knights.

    Web Original 
  • In Scrub Club, Squeaks's eyes can't be seen through his glasses.
  • Trouble Busters: The green girl sports them, complete with the spiral swirl. She is also the nerd of the three protagonists.

    Web Comics 
  • Dr. Phage from Awful Hospital has these, complete with spirals. Turns out these actually are his eyes, and nothing is behind them.
  • Subverted in El Goonish Shive, in which one of the lead characters pretends to be Blind Without 'Em; in actuality, his glasses are high-tech espionage gear (including an X-Ray Vision feature which he removed to avoid temptation), and help hide the fact that he's so painfully girly that just looking into his eyes tends to cause Stupid Sexy Flanders moments in heterosexual males.
  • Jade and John in Homestuck both sport some. John's are rectangular spectacles, though they can be hard to see because the bridge isn't often drawn; Jade's are big and round. Several other characters also wear glasses, but the nerdiness of them are debatable: Sollux fits the nerdy archetype well, being an extremely good computer programmer, but his red-and-blue Cool Shades are used more to cover up his bizarre color-changing eyes than denote nerdiness; Vriska's big lenses match those requirements, but her personality really doesn't fit.
  • Ping from MegaTokyo starts wearing these in an effort to look Hollywood Homely and fit in with the jealous girls of her class. To her horror it pretty much ends up as meganekko, no matter how nerdy the glasses.
  • In Narbonic, Dave's glasses don't have the spirals, but function like Opaque Nerd Glasses in every other way — until he goes mad, and they suddenly become totally clear.
  • Piffany from Nodwick. The glasses seem only to get bigger as Art Evolution goes.
  • Thaddeus Euphemism from The Petri Dish wears glasses that you can't see his eyes through.
  • Chroma the First from Princess Chroma seems to have these, but it turns out the lenses are just amazingly dirty. Otherwise, they're just plain old Nerd Glasses.
  • Dave of Real Life Comics wears these. One strip even lampshades this trope when another character that wears normal glasses ask Dave why his glasses are opaque. It turns out that Dave's glasses are multifunctional displays with internet access.
  • Gwynn of Sluggy Freelance is a classic example of this trope, not only being Blind Without 'Em but also Beautiful All Along.
  • Mouse wears them in Squid Row, though his eyes are shown in close-up shots.
  • Goseng from Tower of God has such glasses. She has an unusual look for the context — few people in the Tower wear glasses at all, possibly because they're always improving themselves with Shinsu, and they're a part of how she's drawn a bit more simply than other characters. The glasses also highlight how she's unusually ordinary for a Regular climbing the Tower, not exactly a superhuman powerhouse.
  • In Triquetra Cats, Rain Soricha wore a pair of these in her adopted civilian life. When she becomes a super-powered magic user, she removes them, revealing her big sparkly doe eyes.

    Western Animation 
  • Professor Farnsworth in Futurama has a pair of Nerd Glasses, and indeed his eyes are never seen in the series. Subverted in one episode where he needed his "reading glasses" — and put on a pair several times thicker than his already fairly enormous glasses (to the point that they looked like glass cylinders). At least somewhat of a Justified Trope: Professor Farnsworth is 160 years old. Anyone's vision would become pretty bad by that age.
  • An early example of this is Poindexter from the old Felix the Cat show. He not only wears nerd glasses but he also wears a lab coat and a graduation cap and mortarboard.
  • The Simpsons
    • Prof. Frink wears these, which hide his pupils.
    • Milhouse wears a pair with smaller lenses.
    • Bart wore some temporarily to correct his lazy eye:
    (Bart and Milhouse see their reflections in each other's glasses)
    Bart: (gasp) I'm a nerd!
    Milhouse: (gasp) So am I!
    • Waylon Smithers also wears these.
    • And so does Ned Flanders!
  • Franz Hopper of Code Lyoko. Okay, so Jérémie Belpois is pretty unfortunate in the eyewear department as well, but at least we can still see his eyes.
  • Sheldon Klutzberry on the The Replacements wears glasses that are so thick and heavy they cripple his posture and pinch his nose making him sound like Jerry Lewis. And yes, when he takes them off, he unwillingly turns into a middle-school hunk.
  • An episode of Goof Troop has Max have to temporarily wear nerd glasses because he'd messed up his eyes playing videogames. With Max despondent about it, Goofy told him a story about an ancestor of theirs in the wild west who stopped a bandit thanks to his own nerd glasses.
  • Arthur. Like Scooter on The Muppet Show, the title character's eyes are his glasses—the lenses are all white, with dots in them for his pupils. Most other characters end up this way when they end up wearing glasses. In earlier flashback episodes, his eyes sans spectacles were the same as everyone else's, but they soon gave him Peanuts-style floating dots instead.
  • Beth and Harold from Total Drama also have dotted eyes without their nerd glasses (although it's a bit more common in their universe). They are also considered to be the nerdiest of the contestants.
  • SpongeBob Squarepants wears these for safety when out jellyfishing.
  • Beavis And Butthead: Beavis gets an eye exam and when he can't read any of the letters, because, well, he can't read, is given a massively thick-lensed pair of glasses, making him functionally blind, and somehow even goofier-looking.
  • Became a major plot point in Hey Arnold! where Rich Bitch Rhonda (in karmic retribution for her earlier discriminatory attitude towards geeks by having them sit in the back of the bus) is forced to wear nerdy glasses when her school nurse and aunt reveals she is short-sighted. The humiliation in sitting in the last row prompts Rhonda to discard her glasses, but her short-sightedness causes her to get into embarrassing situations such as getting gum on her shirt and toilet paper on her shoe. Furious at the inequalities she and the geeks are forced to endure in school, she stages a revolution and gets back at one of the cool kids who forced her into the back row by refusing to budge from her first-row seat and convincing the kids to sit wherever they want (ending in the cool kid having to sit in the back row). In the end, as icing on the cake, Rhonda gets a better pair of glasses.
  • Cedric Sner in The Raccoons albeit his eyes are small like two dots to begin with. Due to this he was called Cegato (Blindy) in the Spanish dub.

    Real Life 
  • Bifocals and glasses that correct for astigmatism.