What causes wide-set eyes and how to treat it?

Symptom Database

Wide-set eyes, also known as prominent or spaced eyes, refer to a condition where the eyes are positioned further apart than the average distance. This unique eye spacing can give a person a distinct appearance and may sometimes be a cause for concern. In this article, we will explore the causes of wide-set eyes and discuss potential treatment options.

Understanding Wide-Set Eyes

Wide-set eyes are primarily determined by genetics. The distance between the eyes is influenced by the positioning of the eye sockets and the shape of the skull. While wide-set eyes are often a natural variation, they can also be associated with certain medical conditions.

Causes of Wide-Set Eyes

1. Genetic Factors: Wide-set eyes can be an inherited trait. If one or both parents have spaced eyes, there is a higher likelihood of their children having the same characteristic.

2. Craniofacial Conditions: Some craniofacial conditions, such as Down syndrome and Marfan syndrome, can contribute to wide-set eyes. These conditions affect the development of the skull and facial bones, leading to distinct facial features.

3. Thyroid Disorders: Certain thyroid disorders, such as hyperthyroidism, can cause eye bulging and protrusion, which may create the illusion of wide-set eyes.

Treating Wide-Set Eyes

While wide-set eyes are primarily a cosmetic concern, some individuals may feel self-conscious about their appearance. It is important to note that treatment options for wide-set eyes are limited, and in most cases, the focus is on enhancing the overall facial harmony rather than altering the eye position itself.

1. Makeup Techniques

Makeup can be a powerful tool to create the illusion of closer-set eyes. Here are some tips:

  • Apply a darker shade of eyeshadow on the inner corners of the eyes to create the illusion of narrower spacing.
  • Use eyeliner to emphasize the outer corners of the eyes, drawing attention away from the distance between them.
  • Experiment with different eye makeup techniques to find what works best for your unique features.

2. Hairstyling

Choosing the right hairstyle can help balance the facial proportions and draw attention away from wide-set eyes. Consider the following:

  • Opt for hairstyles that add volume to the sides of the face, such as layered cuts or side-swept bangs.
  • Avoid hairstyles that pull the hair back tightly, as this can accentuate the wide-set appearance.
  • Consult with a hairstylist who can recommend styles that complement your facial features.

3. Eyewear Selection

Wearing glasses can be an effective way to minimize the appearance of wide-set eyes. Consider the following when choosing eyewear:

  • Opt for glasses with a wider frame that extends beyond the edges of the eyes. This can create the illusion of closer-set eyes.
  • Avoid frames with a narrow bridge, as they can accentuate the distance between the eyes.
  • Consult with an optician who can help you find glasses that suit your face shape and minimize the wide-set appearance.

4. Surgical Options

In some cases, individuals may opt for surgical interventions to address wide-set eyes. These procedures are typically performed by a qualified plastic surgeon or oculoplastic surgeon and may include:

  • Orbital decompression surgery: This procedure is primarily used to treat eye bulging associated with thyroid eye disease. It involves removing bone and/or fat from the eye socket to alleviate pressure and improve eye position.
  • Canthoplasty: Canthoplasty is a surgical procedure that involves tightening the outer corner of the eyes. It can help create the illusion of closer-set eyes.

It is important to note that surgical options carry risks and should be carefully considered after consulting with a medical professional.


Wide-set eyes can be a unique and distinctive feature, but for some individuals, it may cause self-consciousness. While treatment options are limited, makeup techniques, hairstyling, and eyewear selection can help minimize the appearance of wide-set eyes. Surgical interventions are also available but should be approached with caution. Remember, wide-set eyes are a natural variation, and embracing one’s unique features can lead to self-acceptance and confidence.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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