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Vision, Additional Subthemes

Subthemes: Records, Expressions

The subthemes of Eyesight discussed above came to mind from a a poem about blindness in a poet, a painting of an opera house and spectating, an assertion of panopticon vigilance](, and a movie with eye witnesses to a crime. Here are more subthemes that don’t link so directly to any of the four works of art.

Records: Run your eyes over a sampling of superlatives related to eyesight.

  • Best human vision – 20/10 vision, the ability to see objects clearly from 20 feet when a normal human can only see them at 10 feet.

  • Most expensive eye surgery – Cornea transplants at $30,000+ to repair the clear, protective outer layer of the eye. This procedure is expensive because of the precision required to complete the surgery and because of the follow-up required. MoneyInc

  • Rarest eye color – Green irises are the rarest (two percent of people), but there exist anecdotal reports that gray eyes are even rarer. Kidadl

  • Most expensive sunglasses – in 2021, Chopard Sunglasses at $400,000. Finance Online

  • Smallest object seen with a “light” microscope –- about 500 nanometers (a nanometer is one-billionth of a meter), about 200 times smaller than the width of a hair. Bacteria, by the way, are about 1,000 nanometers in size. Nanooze

  • Farthest object seen with the unaided eye – The Andromeda galaxy, a collection of a trillion stars 2.5 million light years distant. The Guardian

Expressions: English has a multitude of figurative sayings related to eyesight. For a master list of online sources that have contributed idioms to the various Themes, see Work Additional Subthemes( ). For this collection of 164 idiomatic expressions, aside from identifying expressions myself, I drew on ThoughtCo and The Free Dictionary.

a beady eye on (carefully and suspiciously watching)
a beam in your eye (a large fault of yours vs. a lesser fault in one you criticize)
a bird’s/God’s eye shot (a cinematic view from straight overhead)
a fresh/another pair of eyes (new person considers a problem)
a gleam in someone’s eye (a vision of a far-off triumph)
a ground ball with eyes (in baseball, an infield hit that sneaks through the fielders)
a jaundiced eye (a person with prejudices, biases)
a roving eye (a lover who still looks for romance elsewhere)
a twinkle in someone’s eye (happiness)
a worm’s-eye view (perspective of the lowest worker in a group)
all eyes (fascinated, marveling, in awe)
all eyes and ears (paying rapt attention)
all eyes are on (focus of attention)
all my eye and Betty Martin (something is total and complete malarky)
an eye for the main chance (ready to turn the situation to your advantage)
apple of someone’s eye (favorite)
as far as the eye can see (spreading to the horizon)
baby blues (cute eyes)
bat an eye/eyelashes (coquettishly wink or smile at another person)
bawl your eyes out (cry bitterly and at length)
be one in the eye for (a disappointment or misfortune for someone)
bedroom eyes (seductive looks, come-on looks)
believe your eyes (trust your senses and what you see)
better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick (better than nothing)
big-eyed (astonished, deeply impressed)
bird’s-eye view (larger or higher perspective)
black eye (discoloration due to accumulated blood – periorbital ecchymosis)
blind as a bat (completely unable to see)
blind to reality (not understanding what is actually happening)
blink back tears (try to prevent overt crying)
blue eyed boy (a favorite of those in authority)
by an eyelash (just barely win)
can hardly believe your eyes (astonished, amazed)
cast a sheep’s eye (look amorously at a person)
cast your eyes down (show modesty, fear, subordination)
catch someone’s eye (draw the attention of another person)
clap eyes on (set eyes on someone, notice a person for the first time)
close your eyes to something (deliberately ignore what you know)
coon eyes (tan line caused by wearing sunglasses)
crocodile tears (fake weeping)
cry baby (a child who quickly complains about treatment)
cry one’s eyes out (weep copiously as being extremely sad)
cut eyes at (glance at quickly)
darting glance (quick look)
dead-fish eye (mean look, showing no compassion, callous)
do someone in the eye (thwart or humiliate someone)
do with eyes closed (so well practiced, an act could be done without sight)
dollar signs in someone’s eyes (they see an opportunity to make money)
drop eye contact (not meet the gaze of another person)
dry your eyes (stop crying)
easy on the eyes (pretty or handsome person)
evil eye (set a curse upon someone by the stare)
eye candy (cheap, glitzy, cheesy attractiveness)
eye for an eye (balanced retribution)
eye in the sky (something that you hope will happen but is very unlikely to happen)
eye of the beholder (people have subjective views of attractiveness, desirability)
eye of the hurricane/wind (the calm in the middle of the swirling storm)
eye of the needle (difficult to achieve)
eye sex (a lustful or sexually-charged glance exchanged between two people)
eye someone (look suspiciously at a person)
eyeball something (make a guesstimate)
eye-hand coordination (ability to hit a ball with a bat, racket, paddle, etc.)
eye-opener (a surprise, a wake-up call)
eye-popper (something that excites, astonishes, or attracts a person)
eyes bigger than your stomach (take more food than you eat)
eyes down (modest, shy, timid)
eyes glued to something (transfixed, staring)
eyes in the back of one’s head (able to detect wrongdoing even though not looking)
eyes like a hawk (terrific eyesight)
eyes like saucers (astonished and amazed)
eyes like two burnt holes in a blanket (eyes ringed with darkness, from lack of sleep)
eyes out on stalks (amazed, awed)
eyes popping out of someone’s head (they are amazed)
eyes right (military command, snap to attention)
eyewash (insincere talk, not real)
feast one’s eyes on something (stare longingly)
for your eyes only (confidential, top secret)
four-eyes (person who wears glasses)
furrow your eyebrows (show concern, uncertainty)
get a black eye (suffer a severe setback)
get stars in one’s eyes (imagine oneself succeeding hugely)
gimlet eye (piercing, sharp gaze)
give someone the eye (stare critically at another person)
give someone the stink eye (a look expressing annoyance, resentment, or disapproval)
give the eye (look at someone in a way that shows sexual attraction)
give the glad eye (an inviting glance)
give your eye teeth for (deeply wish for something)
glint in your eye (signal of enthusiasm, hope)
go eyes out (all-in, full energy and attention)
googly/goo-goo eyes (an amorously adoring expression)
gooseberry eye (dull, large)
green-eyed monster (jealousy)
half an eye on (partly attending to something)
hard on the eyes (ugly, unattractive)
has an eye for someone or something (likes)
have bags under someone’s eyes (tired, with dark areas below the eyes)
have one eye on (someone or something)
have scales fall from your eyes (suddenly understand a situation)
have square eyes (watch too much television)
have the sun in your eyes (face obstacles)
here’s mud in your eye (a toast before drinking)
hit someone right between the eyes (punch them or strike them squarely in the face)
hit the bull’s-eye (be right on target)
in your mind’s eye (imagined)
in a pig’s eye (emphatic denial or disbelief that something will happen or be true)
in the blink of an eye (quickly)
in the eyes of the law (as police of the judicial system would view an action)
in the public eye (a celebrity, a well-known and recognized person)
in the twinkle of an eye (exceedingly quickly)
keep a close eye/watch on somebody/something (pay acute attention)
keep an eye on it (watch to prevent a problem from arising)
keep an eye open (watch out for something)
keep an eye out (be alert for something to occur)
keep an eye peeled (watch carefully for something to happen)
keep your eye on the ball (pay attention to what’s important)
keep your eye(s) on the prize (focus on the goal, the end sought)
keep your weather eye open (be extremely watchful or alert)
knock your eyes out (amaze you)
lay eyes on (see for the first time)
look someone in the eye (test the person’s honesty and commitment)
make eyes at (flirt)
meet someone’s eye (be honest and forthright with a person)
more than meets the eye (important information is not immediately knowable)
naked eye (clearly visible without glasses, telescope, binoculars, etc.)
night blindness (reduced ability to see when driving in the dark)
not a dry eye in the house (tragic, upsetting or deeply emotional performance or event)
only have eyes for somebody (devoted and loyal toward one person)
open eyes to (become aware of a previously unknown fact or situation)
pipe your eye (cry)
pull the wool over someone’s eyes (trick a person into not noticing a wrong)
puppy dog eyes (soulful, endearing look)
put a rope to the eye of a needle (attempt a futile task)
raccoon eyes (dark circles under or around eyes)
raise an eyebrow (show surprise at a person’s words or acts)
red-eye flight (overnight flight landing in the early morning)
rest your eyes (take a nap)
rivet your eyes on (someone or something)
roll your eyes (express exasperation, or incredulity)
see eye to eye (agree on a fundamental point)
see out of the corner of your eye (notice with peripheral vision)
see through someone (figure out what motivates someone)
see with half an eye (notice the obvious)
set eyes on (first meet someone)
sheep’s eyes at someone (a shy longing usually amorous glance)
shut eye (sleep)
side-eye (scorning, quick glance)
sight for sore eyes (huge sense of relief upon seeing someone or something)
sleep with one eye open (be vigilant all the time)
sloe-eyed (having dark, usually almond-shaped eyes)
snake eyes (pair of dice with one on both up faces)
snow blind (unable to see because of the bright reflection from snow)
someone is an eyeful (someone is very attractive)
spit in someone’s eye (show complete disrespect for a person)
stardust in one’s eyes (uncritically or unrealistically optimistic)
stars in your eyes (awed in the presence of an idol)
swim before your eyes (dizzy, inability to focus, blurred images)
take your eye off the ball (fail to focus on what is important)
turn a blind eye to (ignore wrongdoing that you know about)
up to one’s eyeballs (overwhelmed)
wandering eye (person who looks for sexual opportunities despite commitment)
waterworks (copious crying)
wide-eyed and bushytailed (all awake and ready to go)
wink at wrongdoing (ignore wrongdoing that you know about)
with eyes shut (willfully not seeing or acting on what you know)

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