How can I dial back the crazy eyes?
December 14, 2009 9:30 AM   Subscribe

How can I dial back the crazy eyes?

I've noticed that many of the candid and posed photos of me over the last 10 years show me with very wide open eyes, with some white showing above the iris. While it's not totally surprising to find in some animated candid shots, I don't like the intense, crazy look in ID photos and the like.

I've worn contacts for about 25 years, have spent much of that time on computer work, and have recently started using drugstore magnifying glasses to make computer work easier.

So here's my questions.

1) Why am I seeing this now, when older pictures of me don't show this effect? I have been told by an optometrist that contacts and/or years of computer work have led to the extra widening of my eyes. Does this make sense? Would moving to glasses instead of contacts help?

2) How can I overcome this? I try to consciously relax my eyes when posing for pictures, but even so, my most recent ID card looks as if I'm contemplating turning the photographer into stew. I'm afraid that the old "close your eyes, then open them just before the picture is taken" trick will make things worse. Any other ideas?
posted by wexford_arts to Health & Fitness (10 answers total)
Best answer: I think moving to glasses definitely would help. I can always tell who wears contacts from several feet away by how wide open they hold their eyes. Virtually all contact wearers do this (I did it when I had them), and it sounds like you're just an extreme case.
posted by HotToddy at 9:38 AM on December 14, 2009

This used to happen to me when people would take pictures of me drunk. I'd be so concerned with getting "drunk eyes" that I'd overcompensate.

This is probably something you have to practice in front of a mirror. You need to know what "normal eyes" feel like. And you need to be able to find that feeling on a couple seconds notice.
posted by greekphilosophy at 9:46 AM on December 14, 2009

I would first ask a good friend to look at some photographs and tell you if they see the problem. I am way, way more critical of myself in pictures than anyone else is. It may be that you've just zeroed in your eyes and are at least partially creating the issue in your head.
posted by something something at 9:52 AM on December 14, 2009

Could this be a thyroid condition?
posted by No New Diamonds Please at 10:00 AM on December 14, 2009

Might be a thyroid condition like Graves' disease. Your GP can order a thyroid panel, or you could consult your ophthalmologist.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:15 AM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for all the responses so far. I think you can toss out any thyroid issues, as I'm not showing any symptoms (eyes and neck don't bulge, my eyelids aren't retracted, I've gained rather than lost weight over the past 10 years, and I've got a ridiculously low resting heart rate) and my most recent blood tests a few weeks ago came back as normal.

The white doesn't show above my eyes 100% of the time, just in most of my posed pictures and in any non-somnambulist candid pictures. I'm trying to figure out if conscious behavior modification can help, or if dropping the contacts would help even more.
posted by wexford_arts at 10:28 AM on December 14, 2009

Maybe you could practice having your photo taken. Try different eye positions and see how it feels when you look "normal".
posted by defreckled at 11:02 AM on December 14, 2009

Best answer: OMIGOD I was totally starting to do this a few years ago... I would be having a blast, dressed up and lookin´good, and the picture taking would start... and CRAZY EYES!

Yeah, you have to practice taking pictures of yourself. Around the same time I got my first digital camera and I started taking pictures of myself, until I got really good at it, so not only do I know what normal eyes feels like, I also know what angle to turn my head, the best smile, etc etc.

You can overcome this, just practice!
posted by Locochona at 5:21 PM on December 14, 2009

Best answer: Tyra Banks would tell you to smize- smile with your eyes. Every season on America's Next Top Model, there's at least one girl with "crazy eyes", and "smizing" is always the answer.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:13 PM on December 14, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks again. I can take decent pictures of myself in the mirror without crazy eyes, but I think I tense up nearsightedly for ID photos and just get too damn happy and intense in a social situation. So I'll consider weaning myself off my contacts and practice "smizing", but I just may have to learn to RELAX more, too.
posted by wexford_arts at 7:52 PM on December 15, 2009

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