Hunter Eyes vs Prey Eyes

Have you ever thought about how our eyes' shape affects our overall facial attractiveness? Get to know the difference between hunter and prey eyes.
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Hunter (Predator) Eyes vs Prey Eyes in Humans: What Is It And How To Get It
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There’s a study conducted on animals to prove that the shape of eyes and pupils can tell if the animal is a hunter or prey. It has shown that vertical eye pupils are typical for the predators, while horizontal ones belong to the prey. 

A similar situation is with people, as our eye shape can provide a very different image. 

People with hunter eyes have a prominent piercing gaze, while prey eyes give a more vulnerable vibe being wide open. 

Hunter (below) and prey (above) eyes in animals
Hunter (below) and prey (above) eyes in animals

Prey (above) and hunter (below) eyes
Prey (above) and hunter (below) eyes

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Canthal tilt

One of the measures that indicate whether you’ve got hunter or prey eyes is canthal tilt

What is canthal tilt?

It’s the angle relating the inner and the outer corners of the eye. The inner corner is called the medial canthus, and the outer corner is the lateral canthus, explaining the term “canthal tilt”. 

A canthal tilt (positive)
A canthal tilt (positive)

Positive canthal tilt

When the outer corner of the eye is higher than the inner corner, it’s called a positive canthal tilt. It’s one of the features of the hunter eyes. The one that makes the expressive and piercing glance. 

A positive canthal tilt
A positive canthal tilt

Negative canthal tilt

When the inner corner of the eye is placed higher than the outer corner, it’s a negative canthal tilt. It’s typical for the prey eyes, making the glance softer. There’s also a neutral canthal tilt when the lateral canthus is on the same level as the medial canthus. 

A negative canthal tilt
A negative canthal tilt

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What Are Hunter Eyes (predator's eyes)? 

Hunter or predator’s eyes imply a form of an eye that is usually almond-shaped. Hunter eyes tend to set deeper in the skull (compared to the prey eyes). They are elongated horizontally and have a positive canthal tilt, making the gaze more intense. The brow bone of the hunter eyes is pronounced and protects the eyes.

Examples of hunter eyes
Examples of hunter eyes

What Are Prey Eyes?

Compared to vertically compact hunter eyes, prey eyes are more round due to larger orbits (eye sockets). Prey eyes are more exposed and wide open. The large orbits come from genetics or recessed maxilla (from mouth breathing). The canthal tilt of the prey eyes tends to be negative, creating a more wide-eye but downcast look. 

Examples of prey eyes
Examples of prey eyes

What Causes Prey Eyes?

Everyone’s appearance is unique, and so is the shape of the eyes. Yet there are some factors affecting how deep your eyes are placed, their shape, and tilt. Prey or hunter eyes are determined by genetics, but often our lifestyle and habits can affect the eye shape. 

There are a few most common causes of prey eyes:

  • Recessed maxilla. A typical tired-looking face with a downward gaze is a result of a recessed maxilla (upper jaw bone). Bad tongue posture and mouth breathing cause the maxilla to narrow down, resulting in bigger eye sockets and a tired look. 
Maxilla on a skull (highlighted in green)
Maxilla on a skull (highlighted in green)

  • Scleral show. The sclera is the white part of an eye, and the scleral show is the exposure of this part on the lower lid. When the lower lid expands downward due to disease, aging, or surgery, the scleral show gets more visible. It gives a tired downcast look.
Scleral show (above) and treated (below)
Scleral show (above) and treated (below)

How do your eyes affect your face?

The eyes are one of the first things we pay attention to when meeting someone. There’s a great difference in an overall image of a person with hunter eyes and prey eyes, the same as for person with strong chiseled jawline and no jawline. In fact, most of the models have hunter eyes, as they give piercing gazes on a runway, attracting admiring spectators’ views. 

The hunter eyes affect the face by making a dominant, confident, and intense look. Such energy attracts people, thus, making people with hunter eyes appealing to others. Meanwhile, prey eyes appear to give a more submissive vibe, being wide open. People with prey eyes ofter look down and have dark circles under their eyes. So, prey eyes usually don’t give such a magnetic and confident glance.

Can Mewing Give You Hunter Eyes?

As it was mentioned, a recessed maxilla can lead to a tired-looking face with baggy eyes. So, the key to getting hunter eyes is to make sure the maxilla is wide enough. One of the ways to get a wider maxilla is to do mewing (how to mew properly). The base of mewing - correct tongue positioning pressed against the roof of the mouth. Regular tongue posture exercises and nose breathing helps to expand the maxilla to its natural position. 

When the tongue rests on the hard palate, it pushes the maxilla up and creates more eye support. As a result, mewing can help:

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Hunter Eye Surgery

When the reason for having prey eyes is genetics and even mewing doesn’t bring desired results, there are other options. Medical science has come up with various surgical ways to get hunter eyes and/or treat eye inconveniences. 


It’s cosmetic surgery to remove excess skin on the eyelids. Blepharoplasty deals with baggy upper lids, bags under the eyes, and sagging eyebrows. As a result of cutting off excess skin and fat, the eyes look younger and almond-shaped. 

Blepharoplasty before & after
Blepharoplasty before & after

Canthoplasty & Canthopexy

Both of these cosmetic surgical procedures are done to support and strengthen the eye corners. The operations help to go from negative to positive canthal tilt and get hunter eyes almond shape. Canthoplasty is more invasive, as the doctor gets to the bone part to enhance the eye shape. While canthopexy aims to support the outer eye corners by removing only the skin part. 

Canthoplasty diagram
Canthoplasty diagram

Ptosis Repair

Ptosis is a condition when the upper eyelid droops and sometimes can even cover part of an eye. Sometimes it’s a genetic issue or can be a result of a disease. Ptosis repair implies tightening the muscle that lifts the upper eyelid. Ptosis treatment helps to make the eyes younger and deal with vision disorders. 

Before&after ptosis repair from Dr. Guy Massry
Before&after ptosis repair

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The information provided in this article is intended for educational and informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice or a substitute for professional guidance. Mewing and other techniques mentioned on this website may not be suitable for everyone, and individual results may vary. We strongly recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare professional, such as an orthodontist, dentist, or myofunctional therapist, before starting any new oral or facial exercises, particularly if you have existing dental, orthodontic, or health concerns.
Written by
Victoria Punda
June 27, 2023