"The boss always looks so stoned when he goes into a trance."—Spark, Dominic Deegan
Characters with cataracted eyes. Sometimes it's just that - cataracted eyes.
Characters with this specific type of Monochromatic Eyes tend to be Blind Seers or have a blindness related Disability Superpower. This kind of blindness is "extra psychic" or special, and is also associated with powers other than prescience. It's not uncommon for some characters in a trance to have their eyes turn milky white while concentrating (rather than roll back into the skull).
Zombies and some other undead or monsters also have milky white eyes, though in that case it's that they don't blink for the former, leading to all sorts of crap in your eye. Don't expect this to stop them from actually seeing/smelling their prey with unerring accuracy.
And sometimes, white eyes simply alert the audience that their owner is supernatural or pure evil.
This effect can be useful for blind characters in live-action productions because human beings instinctively follow movement and zero in on important things like faces with their eyes, an instinct that is just about impossible to suppress. Milky white eyes make it impossible to tell which way an actor is looking and makes the effect of a blind, fixed stare more convincing.
- The Hyuuga clan of Naruto inverts this trope, as the power of their Byakugan allows them to see pressure and chakra points on their opponent, theoretically allowing them to inflict maximum damage with every strike.
- Seishirou Sakurazuka and Subaru Sumeragi from CLAMP's Tokyo Babylon and X 1999 get one blank eye each due to massive trauma (in separated, but related, events). So did Watanuki from xxxHolic for a while.
- In Seishirou's and Subaru's case, it's because their eyes are made of glass.
- Red Capes in Raidou Kuzunoha vs. the Soulless Army have eyes like this, and they're sunken-in, too.
- In Bleach although there Tousen and Chojiro have blank white eyes, there's no known reason for it in terms of power or mysticism although Tousen is known to be blind. He doesn't have any powers from being blind, however. In the case of Tsukishima, however, when his mind-control power kicks into full gear, his eyes take on an all-white cast and become both eerie and evil.
- Akisame Koetsuji from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple
- Shuu in Fist of the North Star, who can still fight with the best of them, despite his blindness. He actually slashed his own eyes out in order to spare a young Kenshiro's life.
- Some rather highly powered characters in the manga version of GetBackers, including Akabane, Kagami and Miroku Natsuhiko. All three are not blind and fall under the "supernatural" category.
- The silver wolves in Hols: Prince of the Sun are the supernatural type, and are directly working for Grunwald, who ironically, is referred to throughout the film as 'The devil'.
- Galatea from Claymore, after the timeskip. And yes, hers come with a Disability Superpower.
- Fullmetal Alchemist's Roy Mustang after chapter 102.
- Masane in Witchblade temporarily gets these when an X-Con or Cloneblade user is near.
- Highschool of the Dead features zombies with the classic "undead eyes" version; they make up for it by hearing unbelievably well, but having other senses dulled (i.e. dumbly walking into a wall, easily being pushed out of the way by someone walking quietly and carrying a wooden sword, walking right past someone who's just staying out of the way, etc.)
- Junji Ito depicts his fiancee "A-ko" with blank eyes and a wide smile in Ito Junji's Cat Diary.
Comic Books[edit | hide]
- Jei-san in Usagi Yojimbo has this due to being "divinely blessed" (more likely demonically cursed or possessed), and he also has a small amount of psychic power: he kidnapped Jotaro because he felt there was some connection to Usagi, but didn't know what it was It turns out Jotaro is actually Usagi's son; not even Usagi knew that. His current "host" Inazuma also gained the white eyes and demonic aura as has his next host, a monk named Hama
- Whether or not Daredevil has these or is simply unfocused depends largely on the artist.
- I thought he just had cataracts
- X-Men's Storm has the "when using powers" version. Since in a few adaptions (the movies in particular) her powers require a lot of concentration, this trope fits. It's been theorized that her eyes might be forming a protective membrane against the elements.
- Watchmen's Doctor Manhattan has completely white eyes with no pupils. Again, his case is an inversion, since he isn't blind.
- The Goon: For a comic about a hulking anti-hero fighting supernatural entities such as ghouls, ghosts, skunk apes obsessed with pie, aliens, demons and mad scientists, it's never made clear why his human sidekick, Franky, is drawn without pupils. He has no supernatural attributes or abilities, and he's certainly not blind (demonstrated by his signature "knife to the eye" technique).
- Appears to be an artistic preference. Franky's eyes are not so much Prophet Eyes as they are "Blunked Out"—an old-time comic book style (Little Orphan Annie is a prominent example of "Blunked Out" eyes).
- The protagonist of Daemonifuge, especially when using her quasi-psychic abilities.
- The blind mouse in The Tale of Despereaux.
- The incredibly aged rat Nicodemus and The Great Owl in The Secret of NIMH.
- Kashekim Nedakh, the King of Atlantis from Disney's Atlantis the Lost Empire as opposed to having brown eyes like all of the other Atlanteans (except, oddly enough, his blue-eyed daughter). At the very beginning of the film, his eyes are drawn normally, meaning that he was blinded shortly after Atlantis ended up underwater.
- Godzilla in the film GMK had these to indicate that he was pure-evil. Oh, and that he was resurrected by the souls of the Japanese soldiers who died in World War II.
- The emerald seer in Krull (probably) had this, he rarely opened his eyes though, and his doppelganger had all black eyes.
- In the 1981 version of Clash of the Titans, Perseus encounters three Stygian witches who cannot see (except through a Crystal Ball). Although they planned to eat him, he gains their assistance by taking the ball from them and only giving it back when he gets the answers he needs.
- The old hag in Monty Python and the Holy Grail had eyes like these.
- A partial example is Halle Berry's version of Storm have this in the X-Men films. When channeling her power her eyes go milky white (taken from the comics, when the artists remember). In the first film, this was done with contacts, but she complained, so in the sequels they put the effect in digitally in post-production.
- Darryl Revok gets this in the psychic duel at the end of Scanners.
- Partial example: a blind Love Interest from a Rankin/Bass movie about Jack Frost has milky blue eyes remarkably for a kids' Christmas special, her vision isn't healed; she's just fine the way she is.
- The deadites of the Evil Dead films, much to the chagrin of the actors and actresses who had to wear thick white contact lenses over their eyes and be led blindly around the movie set. Interestingly, they're not only undead monsters, they also have the "prophet" angle of this trope covered: the first person to be possessed announced her transformation by correctly listing a series of hidden playing cards in an increasingly demonic voice, and all of them can read their victim's minds and play on their weaknesses.
- Lon Chaney, Sr. claimed a number of techniques for portraying this form of blindness on screen. For short shots, he would simply roll his eyes up into his skull. For longer takes, he would either use a mixture of guncotton to form a film over his eyes, or he would spread a thin layer of egg-white over his eyes to obscure them.
- Mrs. Slydes (the scary old lady mistaken for a ghost) in House on Haunted Hill.
- Blind Mag in Repo! The Genetic Opera has high-tech camera-eyes of a strange color and pattern, that let her record and project images.
- Red Heat (1988). Arnold Schwarzenegger is playing Ivan Danko, a Soviet cop in the United States trying to lean on Abdul Elijah, a Black Muslim drug boss.
Danko: You ship drugs to my country, you wake up and find your testicles floating in a glass of water next to your bed.
Elijah: I'm a holy man. I don't need testicles.
Danko: Then I'll settle for your eyes.
Elijah: You don't scare me, white boy. (takes off sunglasses to reveal his milky white eyes)
- The Made for TV Movie of Going Postal has Moist's eyes do this when he 'receives a message from the Gods' about where to find the money he needs. It's achieved in-universe through the use of turtle egg shells.
- The film version of Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire has Viktor Krum having these eyes when he points his wand at Harry with the Lumos spell During the Third Tournament of the Tri-Wizard Cup. This, along with his action towards Harry, are early hints (both to Harry and the audience) that Krum wasn't himself during the tournament.
- In The Chronicles of Riddick, the eponymous character has silver/white eyes.
Literature[edit | hide]
- Miss Treason from the Discworld story Wintersmith had eyes like these.
- Greebo, Nanny Ogg's cat, has one eye like this.
- In Robert Newman's Young Adult novel The Case of the Baker Street Irregular, Sherlock Holmes impersonates a blind man, and uses gutta-percha contacts to make his eyes appear this way.
- Aragog the spider in Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets has milky white eyes because he is blind.
- A particularly irritating Blind Seer has this quality in the Belgariad. Eddings uses it to good effect—when Polgara destroys her foresight by restoring her vision, he describes it as looking like the milkiness drains out the bottom of her eyes.
- Zephyr, an ancient bat with supernatural sonic powers in Silver Wing is described as having eyes that are completely white with cataracts due to his advanced age.
- Side effect of becoming a Crone in The Seventh Tower. The Crones do not lose their sight... they only appear as though they have.
- In the second series of Amber books, Coral winds up with the Jewel of Judgment in place of her missing eye, allowing her to see the Primal Pattern directly.
- Cathan from the Dragonlance Kingpriest Trilogy has these. He isn't blind, however- it's just a cosmetic side-effect of his having been resurrected. Other supernatural beings associated with the same god who brought him back are shown to have similar eyes.
- All Moth- and Butterfly-kinden in Shadows of the Apt. The Moths also have perfect (though presumably monochrome) night vision, as well as tending to be seers and prophets.
- In World War Z, a solider mentions that zombies have these sorts of eyes, but not for any magical reason: without a need to blink, dust and random debris in the air produce microscopic scratches in the eyes of the undead.
- Adie from The Sword of Truth series. Blind, but capable of seeing with her magic. Becomes a major issue when the Pristinely Ungifted appear, because she can't see them at all since they don't show up in magical Sight. She does hear and feel and smell them, though, so she knows they're there. She's justifiably creeped out as all getup by that. All the other wizards at least see them normally.
- The old man in Edgar Allan Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" has an eye like this, which provokes the main character to kill him.
- At the climax of the Ted Dekker book Saint, the title character removes the sunglasses he's wearing and his startled nemesis informs him that his eyes are white.
- In the Warrior Cats series, Blind Seer Jayfeather is often drawn this way in fanart and he appears like this on at least one foreign edition cover, even though in the books he's described as having rather normal eyes. Rock, on the other hand, has "sightless eyes" mentioned in his physical description, so we can assume the only way a cat could tell by sight that another is blind is because the blind cat has eyes that look like this.
- As the picture suggests, Isaac Mendez, along with Usutu and Matt, in Heroes.
- Cassandra Carver, the Blind Seer in Smallville.
- Geordi from Star Trek: The Next Generation. Then in the movies he gets bionic eyes that look more (or less) like regular ones. Before this, he used a VISOR which gave him a variety of visual abilities ranging from Infra red to seeing the "auras" of electromagnetic machines - but not the ability to see things such as sunsets, in any form except on their composite level. Apparently seeing a sunset as a series of infrared and ultraviolet rays really sucks the beauty out of it. The implants have the same visual range, but are more advanced and allow Geordi to control which parts of the electromagnetic spectrum he sees at any given time.
- Justified (though the writers probably didn't know it), inasmuch as perceived colors have relatively little to do with actual physical properties. There any many different ways a given color can be made with light, and Geordi might have trouble associating combinations of measured frequencies with colors. Also, the VISOR would not be able to duplicate the opponent process of human color vision and still convey all the information Geordi can apparently see.
- Lilith, the new Big Bad demon in Supernatural, has milky white eyes.
- The psychic in Supernatural got a pair of plastic eyes that look like this on purpose. It makes her "look extra psychic".
- The guys in Testees after being temporarily blinded by pineapple shampoo.
- Averted in Becker. Jake, though blind throughout the shows run (he lost his sight due to injuries sustained in a car accident) has perfectly normal looking eyes.
- The various Black Lodge dopplegangers in Twin Peaks have white eyes to distinguish them from those they are imitating. This is used to highlight their supernatural natures and to be very freaky.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Vampires started off with blank white eyes in their vampiric forms, as an homage to Evil Dead. However, a combination of Executive Meddling and concerns about making Angel look attractive even in his vamp form led to the design gradually becoming less demonic and more feral. Monsters of the Week such as the Gentlemen, though, are still prone to having them.
- Whenever Willow makes intensive use of magic, her eyes turned pitch-black. When she buffed up Buffy with magic to fight Adam, Buffy's eyes turned gold/yellow. In the series finale, when using the scythe to activate all the potential slayers, her eyes (and hair) turned white, hinting she was using powerful white magic.
- A blind assassin on Angel, as well as three children.
- Cordelia also has them while she's having a vision (or just using her new powers), after being changed into a half-demon. Before that, her eyes remained normal, but she felt excruciating pain until the vision ended.
- Played somewhat straight by Chiana of Farscape in Season 3 where after possession by an energy rider she is able to have flashes of the future, followed by blindness of increasing severity as the series wore on. The ability changed in Season 4 from future flashes to time slowing down, resulting in permanent blindness
- In the miniseries these were replaced with eyes that were probably bionic, which removed any prophetic abilities but gave her X-ray vision.
- In Babylon 5, after becoming the Trope Namer for Touched by Vorlons, Lyta's eyes had a tendency to do this when demonstrating her powers.
Video Games[edit | hide]
- In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you can give your character prophet eyes in either one or both eyes. Yes, you can create your very own Blind Weaponmaster.
- Raiden, Fujin, and a few others from Mortal Kombat. The bio in the manual lists Raiden's eyes as "None".
- Video game example: Agatha in Fahrenheit / Fahrenheit (2005 video game).
- Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: Sonic's fangirl Sonette had these eyes, probably to emphasize her nature.
- Fubuki in Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories has these, though it's a bit hard to tell.
- The Fist Fighter class in Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice has them, as well. He brings them up if you bug him in the classroom.
Fist Fighter: Hm? My eyes are white? It's because I don't want to look at you!
- In The Force Unleashed, Rahm Kota's eyes become like this after Starkiller blinds him with his own lightsaber.
- Actually, no, he has transplanted eyes,
- In Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic II, Kreia has eyes like this. She says to the Exile that they atrophied from disuse, and as a result she sees through the Force, instead of seeing light. As a result, if you switch to her and go into first person mode, every glows the color of their alignment, and the background goes black and white.
- Also of note, she states that she could heal them with the Force quite easily if she wanted to, but prefers her Force vision.
- Weirdly enough, her eyes are completely black when she is wearing her sith robes. (before the events in the game.)
- This may be more of a comic book example, but Death Knights in the World of Warcraft tie-in Ashbringer seem to have these. In the game they glow blue.
- Dhalsim in Street Fighter II can teleport, extend his limbs, breathe fire without any harm to his body, and is a pacifist for the most part. Guess what colour his eyes are.
- Not just Dhalsim, not by a long shot. Bison, the evil dictator, has them and when combined with his blindingly white teeth and creepy grin, it makes him scary. Then there's Sagat, King of Muay Thai Boxing, who has lost one eye, but they were likely both just as white as the one he has left (no pun intended). Gen, the sickly old Chinese assassin has them as well. As well as some guy from the Alpha series. Come to think of it, Dhalsim is the only good guy with them.
- Street Fighter X Tekken adds Rolento to the group of villains with these. He had regular eyes in Final Fight and older Street Fighter titles, though...
- Dr. Bertruger in Doom 3, albeit in only one eye.
- Onin from the Jak and Daxter series has these.
- The Grey Warden in Dragon Age Origins briefly gets these during the Joining. They come with a vision of the Big Bad.
- An almost literal example of this trope in Fable II is Theresa.
- Legacy of Kain: They are a side effect of possession, in a Deconstruction of Glowing Eyes of Doom. Not all characters with eyes like that are known to have gotten them this way, though.
- Meta Knight from Kirby actually has white eyes when he takes off the mask. When the mask is on he has Eyes of Gold.
- Something strange happens to Romeo Guildenstein's eyes in Vagrant Story after his body absorbs the power of The Dark Side.
- Kefka Palazzo's field sprite as well as one character artwork of him is depicted as having completely white eyes.
Web Comics[edit | hide]
- The Regional Fairies from Gunnerkrigg Court.
- The Geisterdamen in Girl Genius. They are called "priestesses" by those in the know, said to be Not of This Earth and modified by a Mad Scientist (including implanted mind control keyed to their mistress and what could be intended to prevent rival mind control), though details of what's going on are hard to tell. The "otherworld" part may be a sham, however, since they are somehow connected to Skifander, which is reachable by a mundane dirigible in reasonable time from Europa.
- Mokurei in Kurenai Mashin (title character btw) is an elven assassin who is blind. Of course, while he can't see physical things, he can see spells the other characters cast. http://km.comicgenesis.com/
- Dead people in Homestuck all have blank white eyes, whether as ghosts manifesting in the real world, or in the afterlife.
- For added symbolism, Aradia, the first ghost in the comic, also has foreknowledge of the future.
- Terezi is a different case; she's alive, but had her eyes burned out into blank red. She is also a Blind Seer.
- Oddly, some of these ghosts are of a species whose sclera are normally yellow-orange.
- Subverted in Unintentionally Pretentious. While Mia is blind, her eyes generally look normal when open.
Web Original[edit | hide]
- Avatar: The Last Airbender has the blind Earthbending master Toph Bei Fong.
- Warhammer Fantasy Battle gives us an example of this trope in the beastmen of Khorne, known as Khorngor. Rather than being psychic or insightful in any way, they're Blood Knights and some of them are even Anti-Magic. These eyes are a trait they share with many of Khorne's Daemons as well.
- Alahazra, Pathfinder's iconic oracle.
- Corneal opacity can indeed result from congenital/hereditary defects, some diseases (eg river blindness, trachoma), or injury (eg chemical burn), sometimes resembling this trope.
- Some blind people have their eyes more or less permanently rolled up, which can give an impression of whiteness. Usually the eyes are half-closed, though, and/or there's a bit of iris showing at the top.
- Sagat did have normal eyes in the first game and early versions of II; starting with Super Street Fighter II his remaining eye has been monochromatic in all his appearances, including the Alpha games
- And no, the red dots on the former are not his eyes, that's makeup. This is made especially clear in sprites where he winks.