65 Ways to Describe Sight and Eyes in Your Writing

Ever since William Shakespeare said:eyes

“The Eyes are the window to your soul”

… people have been trying to decode ever glitter, wrinkle, squint, and gaze that passes from those orbs. When I read a description that catches my attention, I copy it down, using it later to remind me there’s more to a character’s eyes than ‘she looked’ or ‘his blue eyes’.

Here’s my list of 65 (and growing):

A note: These are for inspiration only. They can’t be copied because they’ve been pulled directly from an author’s copyrighted manuscript (intellectual property is immediately copyrighted when published).


  • Eyed me as though his bullshit meter was ticking in the red zone.
  • He blinked as his eyes adjusted.
  • an alertness in the eyes, behind the glasses that sat crookedly on the nose
  • Cold gaze fixed on the anxious young man
  • Cast a skeptical eye
  • Sure, we know that, said Herrera, taking off his glasses to inspect the lenses.

  • Gaffan saw Marley’s eyes open wide in surprise and recognition.
  • Eyes bleary from surveillance and the two-hour drive
  • Vision narrowed to a pinprick
  • Eyes clouded
  • eyes locked on like magnets
  • four pairs of eyes blinked in unison
  • studied her with a predator’s unwavering attention
  • blinked a couple of times
  • Squinted out into the audienceeyes
  • eyes narrowed to slits
  • Narrowed his eyes
  • eyes locked in a shared understanding
  • yellow rimmed eyes narrowing
  • peer sightlessly at a wall
  • eyes turned inward
  • shook her head and stared at the pool
  • Staring sightlessly into the darkness
  • Stared off into the crowd but didn’t seem to see anything
  • Stared into the distance
  • Fixed expression
  • Looked at a place somewhere over his shoulder
  • focused on an empty space in the air between them
  • eyes narrowed, she got a vertical wrinkle between her eyebrows. Her lips pursed slightly.
  • Their eyes met, but he broke it off
  • meaningful eye contact
  • studied Hood with her level gaze
  • risked a peek
  • she screwed her eyes shut
  • stared brazenly into her eyes
  • opened her eyes wide
  • dark eyes radiated a fierce, uncompromising intelligence
  • rubbed raw eyes
  • eyes felt scratchy and I was jittery with coffee and raw from sleeplessness.
  • His eyes flickered past me.
  • His eyes were never still and he never looked at me except in passing
  • Caught her peeking at Hawk sideways out of a narrow corner of her right eye.
  • Watching the bystanders from the edge of his vision
  • Looked him over with the respect men who have not served give those who have

Eyespug head portrait

  • Ferret-like eyes
  • Dark eyes smoldering
  • Lined from squinting into too many suns
  • Eyes were dark pools of fear
  • Flint-eyed
  • looked like hell—purple bags under her eyes,
  • eyes carried a mixture of shock and barely contained anger
  • bright eyes of an optimist
  • one eye clouded with a cataract
  • wounded eyes
  • tired eyes
  • his body felt heavy
  • eyes were dark, cupped by fleshy pouches
  • wire-rimmed glasses
  • Slate-blue eyes
  • Dark solemn eyes
  • Spark in his grey eyes
  • Steely-eyed
  • Huge blue eyes that gave her a startled look
  • black circles beneath her eyes had become bruises
  • Wide-spread aquamarine eyes
  • Beady-eyed
  • brown eyes wearing reading glasses
  • Piercing stare
  • Close set black eyes
  • Watery blue eyes
  • Memorable only for his bleak eyes
  • Nets of wrinkles at the corners of her eyes
  • Eyes flat as little pebbles
  • Steely eyed
  • long eyelashes
  • laughing eyes
  • predatory eyes
  • Eyes were red-rimmed from allergies
  • Under heavy lids; heavy-lidded
  • Sensitive brown eyes
  • Eyes sunk into his sockets
  • Competitive, fixed, dead-eyed, and querulous stare of people who weren’t getting far enough fast enough
  • I’ve-seen-it-all eyes
  • bedroom eyes, dark hair falling into them
  • Crows feet radiated from corners of eyes
  • the light fades from his eyes until they are dark and empty
  • eyes were brown in the middle and bloodshot everywhere else
  • stared through him
  • Looked left and right before starting
  • Pingponging his gaze between A and B
  • His glance, as conspiratorial as a wink
  •  eyes watched her the way a tiger watched a bunny
  • Shadow passed over his eyes
  • Flicker in his eyes
  • Said without looking at him
  • looked for a common theme, a thread of some sort
  • She frowned–couldn’t recall the incident
  • Heard little and cared less
  • Hovering over her shoulder
  • His eyes flattened
  • His face hardened in concentration
  • Thinking about my conversation with the old detective
  • shot a look over the top of his glasses
  • Squinted at the sun
  • Arched an eye brow
  • Looked at me with a strangled expression


  • Bushy eyebrows
  • eyebrows of white steel wool
  • a single bushy bar above the eyes

More descriptors for writing:

Lots of them

48 Collections to Infuse Your Writing

What is a ‘Hacker’

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is the author/editor of dozens of books on integrating tech into education, webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her book at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning. 

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38 thoughts on “65 Ways to Describe Sight and Eyes in Your Writing

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  6. My old eyes can’t ‘see’ as much as your young ones and writing brain can Jacqui. You’ve given me so much great tips over the last couple of years, I wish I knew long time ago. These are the ones came at a critical juncture of my [nonsensical?] book. Thanks for your help Jaqui. Arun from over the pond.


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