What makes Asian eyes look different?

The Asian periocular anatomy is very different from that of a Caucasian or African American on many levels. Firstly, the shape of the orbital bones makes a tremendous impact on the 3D shape and angle of the eyelids. In an Asian, the lateral orbital rim, or the rim of bone that can be felt at the outer corner of the eye, sits on average 3mm more anterior than in Caucasians, and 5mm more anterior than in African Americans (Migliori and Gladstone 1984, Tsai et al 2006). This difference in the skull shape significantly affects the angular corners of Asian eyelids, as explains the more rounded outer corners in Caucasians and African Americans.

Secondly, the fibrous strip of tissue that defines the upper and lower lid margins, called the tarsus, is significantly narrower in the Asian patient (6-8mm) compared to Caucasians and African Americans (10-12mm). The upper edge of tarsus is where fine filamentous attachments link the eyelid skin to the eyelid, and corresponds to the height of the lid crease. It is these attachments that can be weak in Asians who do not have a visible lid crease, often called a “single eyelid” configuration.

Another difference is the additional layer of fatty tissue in the Asian eyelid that is not found in either Caucasians or African Americans. This extra layer of fat helps to separate the eyelid skin from the muscle and tarsus, which is typically firmly attached in Non-Asians. By increasing the thickness of Asian eyelids, this layer may also prevent a lid crease from forming at the upper border of tarsus.

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49 responses to “What makes Asian eyes look different?


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  3. But why did this happen, or why did others not do this. WHY

    • …6Therefore pride is their necklace; The garment of violence covers them. 7Their eye bulges from fatness; The imaginations of their heart run riot. 8They mock and wickedly speak of oppression; They speak from on high.…

  4. Hi Taw,

    One theory could be that asians originally come from regions or time where/when there was a lot of ice and narrow eyes reduce the effects of the reflection of light on ice. When you look at Eskimo’s they have very narrow eyes.

    An other theory could be that fishers who live on the water also had an advance from more narrow eyes, for the same reason reducing the effects of light-reflections on the water.



    • Michel, that must be your own ridiculous theory because Eskimos are descended from Asians when they crossed over to Alaska. As people migrated south in America and South America, they became the Native Americans and Native South Americans. For DNA studies were done and Eskimos and Native Americans were all related to Asians. Go look at Siberian Eskimos. Evolution doesn’t happen over night. It could take 140,000 years for a group of people’s eyes to become different. Fishers Staring at the water is more ridiculous. How about people who live in the desert, who stare at the sand and sun too long. Do they have narrow eyes? Look at people’s eyes from northern climates such as Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Staring at snow for a million years doesn’t cut it.

      • Wow. That was the longest and most pointless rant with absolutely no explanation at the end.

      • Sadly I’ve never looked into it and so do not know the actualy reason for an asians eye’s, but (smarty), Michel’s theory could be true, to explain i’m going to in part use his example, and teach you basics in evolution, I hope yall enjoy the read if you want some explanation.

        I’m noticing alot of flawed idea’s about Evolution on here… Evolution does not happen by a species “staring at snow for a million years”, and developing beneficial charicteristics by doing so… evolution happens by mutation, lets say in my example its an animal species living on a snowy mountain.

        So the animal gives birth to 3 offspring.

        One of the offspring had his parents eyes, and was as able to feed himself as his parents/species normally could, he would survive as normal in the group (He had to squint alot).

        The second had a mutation which lessened his sight when the sun reflected from the snow and so could not hunt/feed himself and was unlikely to survive, if he did he was (weak) unlikely to be an attractive breeding partner to a female, his mutation would die with him. (This is termed as Devolution)

        The third offspring had a mutation which allowed him to see better in the snow and so hunt/eat better, he would be stronger (Even more than his parents), he would have more chance of survival and in doing so living and passing on his mutation onto his offspring, who would come from the same species as his parents, slowly over time that gene would be passed to the majority of the species (This is the bit that can take hundreads of thousands of years, or very little time, depending on the reproduction rate of a species).

        Typically in nature the choice of breeding is done via systems like the alpha male, being the strongest of a group of beings, and passing on the best gene’s to benefit the species as a whole, that is Evolution (Some mutations may be bad for a species, these ones will/may not survive, incase you also think mutation is just a bad word).

        Anyway, if a human man was born in the world today, and he had mutated into a man who, i dont know, had wings, he could fly… Firstly, would any female be attracted to him to make more baby flying humans, secondly, if so, his children and his childrens children and so on and so forth would slowly breed into the already massive exsisting human population, slowly increase in number over time, but with no chance to ever take over as a domanant gene.
        (Thats ignoring how many mutations/generations it would take to develope wings)

        To go on… we now live on many different continents, but at one time there was one mass of land, and so we were all developing in similar(ish) environments, so most of us would have been the same(ish), and there was Alot less of us, then the continents split and each became a very distinct environment, skin colour was developed to protect from sunlight, the darker the skin, the brighter the sun was in that region of the world. eye and hair colour also developed this way.

        Anyway, thats a very basic brief on evolution, I hope someone was actually looking for an explanation, I apologise for my spelling, but I was born with dyslexia, thanks dad :D

        Something to think about, ever notice how all animals look the same, yet every human is different, even our fingerprints are unique, that is how diverse and different the human gene pool has become, i’m fairly sure most cave men looked the same :P)

        Anyway, thats my theory, tho i’m sure Darwin had some influence.
        Damn I wrote an essay :D

      • Oops I ment to delete one part, the mention of devolution, I dont think its the correct term, or i’m not sure atleast, so ignore the (termed as devolution bit)

      • Actually some Finnish people developing epicanthic fold just not as deeper as Eskimo people.

      • Selection is another driver of evolution and can have a quicker effect than adaptation. If you look at the breeding of animals you can get a better understanding of this process.

  5. Some Asians have partial eyelid separation and some have full separation. Mine are parted except right near the tear duct. I’ve not had my eyes surgically corrected. I’ve read some where that double lids as they’re also known are found in 75-80% of SE Asians and in 25-30% of NE Asians. I don’t know if it’s true, I’m adopted and most of the other Asian adoptees I see are of Korean descent and they’re not bothered with eye surgery so they keep the monolid look which I actually find very attractive with their eye shape.

    • You haven’t had your eyes ALTERED. There is nothing wrong with your eyes, and therefore they cannot be “corrected”. Alteration is a matter of personal taste and preference, not righting something that is wrong.

  6. they evolved this way because the people who migrated to asia right after the ice age had to deal with the brightness of the snow from the sun. for example when u look at the sun u squint your eyes. this is how they evolved.

  7. dont know why, just glad they did..my gf is japanese and is so amazing looking , esp her eyes..what a gift!

  8. I found it pretty amusing that you decided to choose the term African American as though that was a race by itself. I think in this context it would have been better to just use African.

    • The distinction is used because of the intermixing of races. Africans for the most part don’t intermix with races, nor does the term African apply to every race living on the African continent.

      There are also medical conditions that can make the eyes of non-asian races look similar.

  9. Great article about this here: http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v3/i3/human_race.asp See “Almond Eye.”

    • Err.. piss off, you cannot use the bible to explain racial differences.
      I could go into a whole intellectual debate with you as to why that article is full of crap but it is not worth my time.

    • @ rebecca. I thought we’d grown out of the bible by now.

  10. Usage of the term “African” would be utterly absurd because Dr. Chen didn’t gather information from Africans, he got them from sources referring those residing in Americas who might also have mixed with different races.

  11. I believe that there are 3 probable possibilities.

    1) (the most absurd of the most probable) A single asian male/female with a particular alignment (most likely Emperor or Empress) mated with many asian males/females.
    2) Drastic climate change; one in which none of the asian population could adapt to in any other way (the only way being alignment change).
    3) Separation of a single worldly race lead to rapid evolution (note that evolution is still an unproven theory, leaving the possibility for a sub-theory such as rapid evolution to be open) and adaptation. Similar to the theory of the Multiverse (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multiverse), although possibilities for an ideal race were limited to a few dozen if not less (By “ideal” I’m referring to the asian’s particular alignment that is said to enhance eyesight).

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  13. WHAT A CROCK!! All of these answers are complete BS. Evolution or Adaption to “snow”, “cold climates”, northern asians, Siberians, etc …. all BS.

    Here is the BOTTOM LINE which is DOCUMENTED IN ANTHROPOLOGY! (look it up!) The San people of central East Africa have a disproportionally high number of members that have the Epicanthic eye lid and “almond eye” shape so associated with so called Asians. The San are the OLDEST tribe attributed to modern humans and Genetically linked to ALL modern humans that migrated out of Africa to the Sudan, Arabian Peninsula, India, SE Asian, Kazakstan and into China via Tibet. IT IS PROVEN. Middle eastern people have it, many Indians have it, SE Asians have it, Chinese and EVEN many Europeans such as Poles, Czechs, Germans, Austrians have Epicanthic eye lids!

    So since the San PRE-DATE ALL of the above ethnic groups, HOW did snow, environment, glare, etc. cause this mutation? IT DIDN’T! It is GENETIC! PERIOD!

    • This is hilarious! You must be fresh out of Undergrad with such arrogance? You speak as if you were there!?
      Just because you read a study and agree with the results, doesn’t make it fact, nor does it make you the authority. Be careful with assuming. The study you’re referring to proves the San are AMONG the dozen, or so, most diverse groups of people in the world, and nothing more. Therefore their genetic traits are some that will appear in those who share their DNA (fyi-not everyone does). The diversity implies they are SOME of the oldest due to the amount of time it takes for all that genetic mixing to occur through the generations.
      During this 10,000 yr “mixing period” don’t you think a benefit to a group of people who have hunted and gathered since their existence could be to see a bit clearer/further, and to offset the effects of a glaring African sun? Since it’s all GENETIC and every other theory that isn’t yours is just BS, why aren’t all the San people carriers of the epicanthic eyelid? Additionally, if they are the OLDEST, and the ONLY according to you, why don’t we all have an epicanthic eyelid? If this trait is so important that IT IS PROVEN to be present in the OLDEST and first people, we should all have it, right?
      Bio-plasticity is a beautiful thing. (look it up!)
      BOTTOM LINE____ To assume any trait in a human is 100% genetic is extremely naive.
      Anthropology only gets you so far when delving into history; may want to check out some other subjects before graduation…
      May I suggest psychology? I believe narcissism would be a good starting subject for you. haha

  14. well who really cares, i dont think asians have these kinda stupid arguments about why caucasians have such “big” eyes……….. kyaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!!!

  15. God simply wanted to be creative (pardon the pun).

    It also amuses Him to see us “think” up creative alternatives to His creation.

    • God is more real than you think. In fact, unless you believe in the multiverse theory, God is pretty much required to create this universe(google finely-tuned universe.)

      There are also evidence that this universe is a simulation, which implies that a “cosmic computer programmer” is required to create the simulation.

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  17. the epicanthic fold isnt found only in Asians,t here are also a few Caucasians who have them ( Bjork for example) and its actually pretty prevalent on the African continent as well. also not all asians have the fold, most naturally have double eyelids while others don’t.

    • Hi, Tia, where did you learn that people on the African continent have the single-eyelid?

      This to me, proves conclusively that the Sun is the reason. How? Well, in addition to this sun glaring off of snow explanation that I’ve read everywhere, what people don’t realize is that, regardless of race, people in capitalistic countries, i.e with high GDP per capita(including Hong Kong, which for this discussion should be considered a separate county from China, just know that the most beautiful Asians come from there) like the U.S, Japan, tend to have more of the double-eyelids. What’s the difference between capitalistic countries and say one like China? The answer is that in, one people work mostly inside, and the others work outside(farming and agriculture.)

      Then I thought, what about the people in Africa, who live close to the equator and mostly live outside? If I could just find out whether they have single-eyelids, then my theory would be complete. And you just answered my question. So it appears that the Sun is the reason after all! Note that this would fit in well with the Sans people theory above(basically, we go from single-eyelids and farming to capitalism and the double-eyelids).

      What’s exciting is that these days, you can pretty much avoid the Sun at will. You can see already the difference in the Blacks here and the ones on the African continent. A lot of Asians I’ve seen in the U.S also have double-eyelids. If you’re Asian and live in the U.S, then wait a couple of generations, eventually, the double-eyelids will appear.

      You may wonder, what good does this do for me? Well, I can prove to you conclusively that God exists(not using evolution, but from quantum physics and the Big Bang theory), but that would take too long. Just know that you can reincarnate, and if you want to reincarnate as someone beautiful, then you have to start now.

      This is not to say that there aren’t racial differences. In fact, I believe that the anatomical difference of the bones around the eyes is the reason why Blacks have the biggest eyes. In theory, this means that they actually have the potential to be the most beautiful(and yes, God is very ironic, in fact, I think he made this problem of beauty a riddle for us to solve, and I think I’ve figured it ALL out), provided that they understand other factors, that contribute to beauty.

      What are those factors? The answers are a small nose, high symmetry, and proportionality.

      High symmetry and proportionality are inherent. High symmetry can be achieved simply by eating and living healthy, and the parents have to pass on the genes. Proportionality? Well, I really don’t know how one can achieve it. Fortunately, most people are already proportional(wiki physical attractiveness and note that it says that most people are close to the average proportions. Also, note that they say little about the double-eyelids or small nose, but this can be derived by the fact that Asians like to have surgery on the former, and Whites on the latter, and of course, after studying a hundred of pictures of beautiful women by me).

      The last obstacle is the small nose. How does one achieve this? The answer is pretty simple, eat as little as possible, and avoid consuming calcium. The nose is made up of calcium and cartilage. This means that the more you eat or consume calcium, the more it will grow(along with your height). The nose is an organ(and its bones are just an extension of the skulls), which means that like other organs, it will grow to accomodate your body size. To put it simply, bigger/taller people require more energy, which require more air for cellular respiration.

      I can tell you that the most beautiful people tend to be short, Blacks and Whites have bigger noses than Asians, the cutest kids tend to be small(and don’t eat a lot or are very picky eaters), males have bigger noses than females, and so on. You can see the idea here.

      But how short can you actually be? Well, there’s actually nothing in evolution that says that humans have to be over 4 feet tall. If you think that’s too extreme, then try under 5 feet. In other words, the more you can “keep” yourself under 5 feet, the greater your chances of being beautiful(provided that you have all of the other factors).

    • One thing I forgot to mention is that whatever you do, don’t EVER eat fastfood(and that includes Chinese food, which is just the Asian version of fastfood. Also, keep in mind that Hong Kong copy almost everything that the U.S does, i.e whatever fastfood joints they have over here, most likely they’ll have over there). The most beautiful women in both Asia and America have disappeared since the advent and popularization of fastfood, and the most beautiful White celebrities these days, for example, Hayden Panitierre and Carrie Underwood, are vegetarians. There are no more “class A” beauty in Hong Kong these days.

      Don’t eat fried and sugary(except for fruit) food either.

      Why am I posting this? It’s because I like to post on sites like abovetopsecret and youtube, and instead of regurgitating all of this information, I’ll just reference this site instead.

      • Nathan with your reply you have been crowned the biggest idiot on this site. I won’t bother disproving your comments here because they are not only biased and politically incorrect, but you make no reference to a credible source. We are therefore forced to assume that this is purely a personal opinion which unfortunately reveals your utter stupidity.

  18. yes, i think that you should do so well, Now i go to there and my asia eyes go.

  19. its an interesting question and yes, asian people do wonder why others have big eyes, and why some people have dead straight hair and others not. There’s a lot of chinese women with perms in asia, everyone wants to be different no matter where you are in the world.
    But yes its true, The San of South Africa have this too and are considered to be one of the first people’s of the modern world as the oldest bones of modern man are found in South Africa. I doubt that sunlight or ice glare had anything to do with it, as people weren’t isolated for long enough to evolve such different traits. Its just a quirk which became dominant, in one area and so proliferated, that could be vice versa as well whereas big round eyes are a quirk as well.
    Personally, i love the fact that people are so different and so similar at the same time.
    In the olden days, i mean like thousands of years ago it wasn’t a big deal as people of different races traded and intermarried, it only became a real issue with the industrialisation of Europe and the escalating competition for status meant that countries wanted to become ultra empires. And then Hitler and his axis buddies just took the whole thing into overdrive….

    Point is we’re all related

    • Only White-washed Asians with no brain who are looking into plastic surgery ever ask the question “Why do others have big eyes”. The rest of the normal Asians are far too busy making money, getting grades, advancing technology and populating the world.

      • Yes and thinking creatively, and thinking non-materialistically, and thinking humbly, and trying not to fall flat on our faces in another ego driven “Great Leap Forward” failure…

      • Sorry, Look at South Korea, they are very advanced in technology, making money, hardworking people and student and yet they have obsessions to have double eyelids… Sorry, when people getting richer, it’s more natural to them to think about their appearances more and spend their money in various way.

  20. The design of an Asian person’s eye is genetically superior and offers benefits.
    The only arguments against come from a purely aesthetic point of view. And we all know beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
    Put it this way, if an Asian and a non-Asian were to have a child it will almost exclusively have Asian eyes. The gene feature here is always dominant. The proper line of questioning then is not down the path of “why are Asian eyes different?” and the like, but moreover “why aren’t our eyes like Asian people’s [yet]?”
    Well my dear, time holds the true answer to that…

  21. A Hong Kongner walked by and say hi. I don’t give a toss on any of these theories. Evolution is still in process/progress, and more theories are yet to be established, so just wait for the absolute statement in the future.

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  24. Inquiry into shape of asian eyes and what is clinical name for shape. I’m soon going to marry an Asian lady coming all the way to US from Snenzhen China to meet me & hopfully marry me. Stunningly gorgeous creature. I have loved the culture and appearance if Asian women since my 2 tours in US Armed Forces in 1968. I am 64 yrs old now & @1st sight of her picture has changed my life forever. Simply a beautiful creature on this good earth!!!!

  25. Good on you mark.. marrying another 3rd world prostitute to feed your 64 year old penises’ needs.

    while she’ll inherit your money and get all her 3rd world relatives in america to leech some more.

  26. In Vietnam we usually are proud of our double eyelid with majority number of people. Also our big toe is different from Chinese. the original vietnamese have their thumb toe touch each other, big forehead and they are really short

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