What causes small eyes and how to treat them?

Symptom Database

Small eyes can be a source of frustration for many individuals. They can make you feel self-conscious and may even affect your confidence. However, there are ways to make small eyes look bigger and enhance their appearance. In this article, we will explore the causes of small eyes and provide tips and techniques on how to treat them.

Causes of Small Eyes

Small eyes can be attributed to various factors, including genetics, ethnicity, and certain medical conditions. Understanding the causes can help you better address the issue and find suitable solutions. Here are some common causes of small eyes:


Genetics play a significant role in determining the size and shape of our eyes. If your parents or close relatives have small eyes, there is a higher chance that you may inherit this trait.


People from certain ethnic backgrounds, such as Asian or African descent, tend to have smaller eyes compared to individuals of European descent. This is due to differences in facial structure and genetics.

Medical Conditions

Some medical conditions can cause small eyes or contribute to their appearance. Conditions like microphthalmia, which is characterized by abnormally small eyes, or conditions that affect the eyelids, such as ptosis, can make the eyes appear smaller.

How to Make Small Eyes Look Bigger

While you may not be able to change the size of your eyes permanently, there are several makeup techniques and tips that can create the illusion of bigger eyes. Here are some effective ways to make small eyes look bigger:

Use Light Eyeshadow Shades

Applying light eyeshadow shades on your eyelids can help create the illusion of bigger eyes. Opt for shades like champagne, ivory, or light pink, and apply them all over your eyelids. This technique helps to brighten the eyes and make them appear larger.

Highlight the Inner Corners

Another trick to make small eyes look bigger is to highlight the inner corners of your eyes. Use a shimmery eyeshadow or a highlighter and apply it to the inner corners. This technique adds brightness and creates the illusion of wider eyes.

Extend Eyeliner Beyond the Outer Corners

When applying eyeliner, extend it slightly beyond the outer corners of your eyes. This elongates the eyes and makes them appear larger. Avoid thick and heavy eyeliner, as it can make the eyes look smaller.

Use Mascara to Open Up the Eyes

Mascara is a powerful tool in making small eyes look bigger. Apply mascara to both your upper and lower lashes to open up the eyes. Curling your lashes before applying mascara can also help create the illusion of bigger eyes.

Consider False Eyelashes

False eyelashes can instantly transform the appearance of your eyes. Opt for natural-looking lashes that are shorter in length and gradually increase towards the outer corners. These lashes can add volume and length, making your eyes appear larger.

Makeup Tips for Small Eyes

In addition to the techniques mentioned above, here are some additional makeup tips specifically tailored for small eyes:

Focus on the Upper Eyelid

When applying eyeshadow, focus on the upper eyelid to create depth and dimension. Use darker shades in the crease to add definition, and blend them well to avoid harsh lines.

Avoid Heavy Eyeliner on the Lower Lid

Applying heavy eyeliner on the lower lid can make small eyes appear even smaller. Instead, opt for a thin line or skip eyeliner on the lower lid altogether. This will help keep the focus on the upper lid and create the illusion of bigger eyes.

Use Nude or White Eyeliner on the Waterline

Applying nude or white eyeliner on the waterline can make your eyes appear larger and more awake. This technique brightens the eyes and creates the illusion of bigger, more open eyes.

Define the Brows

Well-defined eyebrows can frame the eyes and make them appear larger. Use an eyebrow pencil or powder to fill in any sparse areas and create a defined shape that complements your eye shape.


While small eyes may be a natural trait or caused by certain medical conditions, there are various ways to enhance their appearance. By using makeup techniques such as light eyeshadow shades, highlighting the inner corners, and extending eyeliner, you can create the illusion of bigger eyes. Additionally, considering false eyelashes and following specific makeup tips for small eyes can further enhance their beauty. Remember, small eyes are unique and beautiful, and with the right techniques, you can embrace and enhance their natural charm.

Haroon Rashid, MD
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Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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