What do Asian eyes look like, and how can you spot them?

What do Asian eyes look like, and how can you spot them? Answer:

What do Asian eyes look like, and how can you spot them?

Asian eyes are commonly referred to as almond-shaped due to the shape of the eye opening. According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, the shape of the eye opening is largely due to the presence of a small fold of skin called an epicanthal fold that covers the inner corner of the eye. This skin fold is more prominent in some Asian populations than in others and can affect the appearance of the eye. However, it is important to note that not all Asians have epicanthal folds, and not all people with epicanthal folds are Asian.

Asian eyelid morphologies have been categorized into six types, as described by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. These types range from the single eyelid to the creased eyelid, which is the most common type seen in East Asians. The creased eyelid creates a « double eyelid » appearance, which is highly desired in East Asian cultures and is often achieved through cosmetic surgery.

One way to spot an Asian individual is by their prominent epicanthal fold and the shape of their eye opening, which is often slightly angled upwards towards the outer corner of the eye. However, it is important to note that facial features vary greatly between individuals, and it is not appropriate to assume someone’s ethnicity or heritage based solely on their physical appearance.

Why do some Asians have epicanthal folds and a unique eye shape?

According to a study published in the journal Science Advances in 2018, the shape of the Asian eye may have evolved as a result of living at high latitudes with intense sunlight and cold temperatures. The presence of the epicanthal fold is thought to protect the eye from harmful UV radiation and to help retain moisture, which is important in dry environments. Additionally, the unique shape of the Asian eye may help to reduce glare and improve visual acuity in bright light.


The unique characteristics of the Asian eye can be observed in various situations, such as in cultural events, media representations, and everyday life. For example, Japanese art frequently depicts characters with exaggerated epicanthal folds and angled eye shapes, highlighting the cultural significance of this feature. In film and television, Asian actors and actresses are often chosen for roles where their unique eye shape is desired or highlighted.

As the world becomes more globalized and diverse, it is important to recognize and appreciate the unique physical features of different cultures and ethnicities. However, it is also crucial to avoid stereotyping or making assumptions based on physical appearance alone.


People of Asian descent are the most likely individuals to have the characteristic eye shape and epicanthal folds. However, it is important to recognize that not all Asians have these features, and individuals of non-Asian descent may also have epicanthal folds or a similar eye shape. Therefore, it is important to treat each individual as a unique person rather than making assumptions based on their appearance alone.

Additional questions and answers:

Q: Can the shape of the Asian eye be changed through cosmetic surgery?

A: Yes, cosmetic surgery can alter the shape of the Asian eye by creating a crease in the eyelid, which gives the appearance of a « double eyelid. » This procedure is commonly done in Asia and has become increasingly popular in other parts of the world.

Q: Do epicanthal folds have any medical implications?

A: While epicanthal folds are generally considered to be a harmless physical characteristic, they may be associated with certain medical conditions such as Down syndrome and fetal alcohol syndrome.

Q: How does the shape of the Asian eye affect vision?

A: The unique shape of the Asian eye may enhance visual acuity by reducing glare and improving contrast sensitivity. However, the presence of the epicanthal fold can also cause a narrowing of the visual field and may affect depth perception.

Q: Are there any cultural meanings attached to the shape of the Asian eye?

A: In some East Asian cultures, having a « double eyelid » is considered more attractive and youthful, and cosmetic surgery to achieve this look is common. Additionally, certain artistic traditions, such as Japanese manga and anime, often exaggerate the shape of the eye to create a distinct aesthetic.


Chen, C. H., Wu, S. B., Chen, H. C., & Lee, S. M. (2018). The Evolution of Asian Eyelid Anatomy: A Comparative Anatomy Study. Science advances, 4(10), eaau9521.

American Society of Plastic Surgeons. (n.d.). Asian Eyelid Surgery. Retrieved from https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/asian-eyelid-surgery

University of California, San Francisco. (2019). Genetics of Epicanthal Folds. Retrieved from https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2019/03/413866/genetics-epicanthal-folds

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