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The eyes significantly impact our appearance. Changes to the shape of the eyes, caused by several factors, can affect how people view and perceive us.

There are many natural eye shapes, and the way your eyes fit proportionally with the rest of your face is key to your overall appearance. Common concerns such as looking tired or having a permanently sad or angry expression can be caused by the shape of your eyes.

Changing your eye shape, often through a straightforward treatment or procedure, can dramatically impact your overall appearance. 


What Causes Different Eye Shapes?

Several influences can change the shape of your eyes. The extent of the changes is dependent on the cause and the significance of the changes. Each eye may be affected differently, causing facial asymmetry, or they may be affected similarly.

Genetics

  • Genetics are one of the main factors that influence our eye shape
  • We inherit our genetics primarily from our parents, but the appearance of other family members can sometimes be apparent
  • Genetic factors influence the width, height, and position of our eyes
  • Different traits may be seen across generations within one family

Ageing

  • Like the rest of the face, our eyes change with age
  • The eye area is often one of the first places people notice ageing as the skin is more delicate, leading to an earlier onset of collagen and elastin loss
  • Skin laxity may cause sagging around the eyes, changing their shape
  • The natural breakdown of the bone structure and the fat pads in the upper face can lead to hollow or sunken eyes

Injury

  • Physical injury or trauma to the eyes or surrounding area can affect the shape of the eyes
  • Bone fractures or impacts to the eye can cause a permanent change of position, which changes the shape of the eye

Medical Conditions

  • Certain medical conditions can impact the shape of the eyes
  • Bell’s Palsy, Stroke nerve damage can cause the eye to have a dropped appearance, sometimes only affecting one side causing asymmetry
  • Allergies and other sources of inflammation can cause swelling around the eyes, leading to them looking less open

Understanding the cause of the shape of your eyes, and how this may have affected change to your eye shape over time, will help you to decide how you may want to address any concerns. 


What Are The Most Common Eye Shapes?

Each eye shape has its own distinctive features. The position of the eyelids, the openness, and the angle of the eyes all contribute to their shape. Key terms that are often used to describe the shape of the eyes include:

Canthal tilt: The canthal tilt refers to the angle of the eyes.

  • Positive canthal tilt means the outer corner of the eyes sits higher than the inner corner.
  • Neutral canthal tilt means the outer corner and inner corner sit at the same level
  • Negative canthal tilt means the outer corner sits lower than the inner corner

Hooded eyes: Hooded eyes refer to excess skin on the upper eyelid, causing a sagging appearance to the eye. This can either arise naturally or through ageing. When there is a significant amount of hooded skin above the eyes, it can limit the field of vision. Aesthetically, people with hooded eyes may be concerned about their eyes looking smaller, or having a sad expression.

Eye setting: The setting of the eyes refers to their position on the face.

  • Close-set eyes mean the inner corners of the eyes sit closer to the nose. Typically, if the inner corners of the eyes are less than the width of one eyeball apart, they are considered close set
  • Wide-set eyes sit further away from the nose. Usually, if the inner corners of the eyes are more than one eyeball’s width apart, they are considered wide-set. 

Almond Shaped Eyes

Almond eyes have the shape of an elongated almond, and are often seen as the most typically appealing eye shape. One of the defining features of almond eyes is that the iris (the coloured part of the eye) touches the top and bottom eyelid, meaning the white part of the eye (the sclera) is not visible above or below the iris.

Almond shaped eyes can have any canthal tilt, and be either close or wide set. They may be affected by hooded eyelids either naturally or through natural ageing. 

Round Eyes

Round eyes have less of a taper at the inner and outer corners than almond shaped eyes, and the width and height of the eyes are similar.

The sclera is visible both above and below the iris, often making them a prominent feature of the face.

Round eyes usually have a neutral canthal tilt and can be hooded. They can have any position, being either wide or close set. 

Monolid Eyes

Monolid Eyes are characterised by having no crease in the upper eyelid, giving them a very distinct, smooth appearance.

They look flat, and the eyelid does not sit tightly to the eyeball. Monolid eyes can have any canthal tilt and be wide or close set. They can also be hooded, which some people may find makes them look much smaller.

Monolid Eyes are most commonly seen in Asian people. 

Upturned Eyes

Upturned eyes have a strong positive canthal tilt, giving the upper face an appealing lifted appearance. Like almond-shaped eyes, the iris touches the top and bottom eyelids, and the eye appears slightly elongated.

Upturned eyes can be hooded and sit either wide or close set on the face. 

Downturned Eyes

Opposite to upturned eyes, downturned eyes have a strong negative canthal tilt. In some Asian countries, this is a sign of beauty, giving the face a soft and friendly appearance and makeup trends are designed to emphasise or create a downturned outer corner.  

In contrast, in Western culture, it is often felt that downturned eyes can look sad, and makeup is used to make the outer corners look more lifted, giving the appearance of a more positive canthal tilt. 


How To Change Your Eye Shape

There are several non-surgical and surgical options which can change the shape and appearance of the eyes. 

Makeup

Makeup, such as eyeliner and eyeshadow, can be used to create different eye shapes where concerns are not severe. It can make the eyes look more elongated, give a more open appearance, and adjust the look of the canthal tilt.

For people who don’t want to permanently change their eyes, makeup is a good option, as the way it is applied can be changed depending on trends or personal preferences. 

Injectables

Non-surgical injectable treatments such as Anti-Ageing Injections and Dermal Fillers can be injected into the eye area to change the shape of the eyes. Anti-Ageing injections can be used to lift the outer corner of the eye, creating a positive canthal tilt, and in some cases, can be used to reduce mild instances of hooded eyelids.

Dermal Fillers can be injected under the eyes and around the outer corner to resolve sinking or hollowing around the eye, which can make the eyes look rounder and smaller. 

Nitrogen Plasma Treatments

Nitrogen Plasma is a non-surgical treatment that uses nitrogen-infused thermal technology to remodel and tighten the skin.

For people who have noticed a change in their eye shape due to ageing, such as hooded eyelids and sagging skin around the eyes, Nitrogen Plasma can tighten and lift the skin, rejuvenating the natural shape of the eyes.

This may not be a suitable solution for people who wish to change their natural eye shape.

Blepharoplasty

Blepharoplasty is a simple surgical procedure that involves removing excess skin from the upper and lower eyelids, depending on the patient's concerns and desired results.

For patients who are concerned about having hooded eyelids or loose under-eye skin, Blepharoplasty can result in a more open and toned appearance to the eye area. 

Canthoplasty or Canthopexy

For patients who wish to have a more upturned appearance to their eyes with a more almond shape, a Canthopexy or Canthoplasty (sometimes known as almond eye surgery) can be performed to lift the outer corners of the eyes creating a more positive canthal tilt.

Canthopexy and Canthoplasty are similar surgical procedures, both resulting in a more lifted appearance to the eyes, that involve slightly different techniques:

  • Canthopexy uses invisible stitches within the tissues of the outer eye area to reposition and strengthen the outer corner of the eyes
  • Canthoplasty involves the muscles and tendons at the outer corner of the eye to be shortened, causing the outer eye to become more lifted.

Canthoplasty or Canthopexy are often performed in combination with a Blepharoplasty to enhance the final result. 


Why Do People Change Their Eye Shape?

Eye shape is a defining feature of the face and has a significant impact on our appearance. Even small changes to the shape of the eyes, for many reasons, can make a dramatic difference to how a person looks.

There are many reasons why people choose to change the shape of their eyes:

  • Either natural eye shape or changes to eye shape can make someone look tired or sad, which may affect their personal and professional relationships or interactions. This can impact people’s confidence or make them feel self-conscious in certain environments.
  • Some people may wish to change their eye shape for aesthetic reasons. If they feel their natural eye shape doesn’t suit the proportions of their face, either non-surgical or surgical options can be performed to a more flattering shape.
  • For patients experiencing gender dysphoria, eye shape can be a defining facial feature. Blepharoplasty and Canthopexy or Canthoplasty are often carried out as part of Facial Feminisation Surgery to create a more feminine appearance to the eyes.
  • In some cases, changes to the eye shape involving excess skin developing over the upper eyelids can lead to a limited field of vision, affecting someone’s sight. This can impact independence, stopping people from carrying out daily activities such as driving. 

In Summary

The shape of the eyes has a significant impact on a person’s overall appearance, and even small changes to the eye area can make someone look very different. Eye shape can affect expression and emotional communication, and when the eyes don’t convey the intended message, this can cause self-consciousness.

There are many options for addressing concerns affecting eye shape. If you are interested in treatments and procedures to enhance the shape of the eyes, get in touch with our dedicated patient advisors. 


Words From Our Founder

Mr. Bryan Mayou

Eye shape is a key facial feature when it comes to one’s appearance, and can impact both self-image and the perception of others. Throughout my career, I have seen the value of both non-surgical and surgical procedures in enhancing patients’ eye shape, restoring confidence and quality of life in cases where a patient might have been affected.
Mr. Bryan Mayou

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