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What are monolids and why do they occur?

A single eyelid is an anatomic feature in eyelids found in the descendants of the Mongoloid race of the Far East characterised by the absence of a fold on the upper eyelid. It occurs because the Asian eyelid has more prominent preseptal fat and the dermis is generally thicker. This may result in a non-discernible upper palpebral crease when muscles…blah…blah…blah (Kim & Bhatki, 2007)

Okay, so the point is that becauseof different distributions of fat, collagen, and other proteins and biological elements on the face, 40-60% of East Asians do not have a noticeable crease on the upper eyelid (Kim & Bhatki, 2007). Why is this problematic such that many East Asians, especially girls, opt for eyelid stickers, glue and even surgery to “correct” the phenomena?

I may have some idea. Indeed the absence of a fold does make the eyes look smaller and slightly mean. I have many times been mistaken for being enraged when in fact it was just my thinking face, and being a thinker, this conversation happens a lot:

Naomi, why are you mad?

I’m not mad.

Why is your face so scary?

This is my thinking face.

Why does your thinking face look so angry?


Not to mention in many Asian countries including China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, single eyelids are a deal-breaker for partners. Monolids falling under the dating radar?! Now I am mad.

Eyelid stickers, glue and surgery are all possible “solutions” to this squintiness problem to make Asian eyes more youthful and alert while still appearing not “Western”. While I do not condemn these, in fact I have tried eyelid stickers and miserably failed, I also do not conform to the view that we need double eyelids to be beautiful or dateable. I believe that single eyelids are freaking beautiful (as are double eyelids).

I’ll even go further than that.

Want to know a secret? (Ok, not a secret anymore now.)

I think that monolids are freaking awesome. If my crush happens to have tiny slanted monolids, then I’ll stare at those squinty monolids dreamily any day. I wouldn’t want him to change it, even if he had a problem with them. Because he doesn’t have to look at them, I DO. And I like them. (If he has double eyelids, that’s equally fine.)

kim and bhakti

I see no “deal breaker” in image A. Image from Kim & Bhakti, 2007.

Monolids are quirky and I do not think they need to be “corrected”. Did you know that you can—unless you are me—go from single eyelids to double eyelids? Yes, you know that. Stickers, glue, surgery. But have you ever heard of going from a double eyelid to a monolid? No! Why? Because it’s hard to insert what you don’t have. What is this “thing” that double eyelids do not have? Why it’s PRESEPTAL and APONEUROTIC FAT as mentioned above! No fats, no monolid.

[Correction: there are ways to get monolids if your creases are not very noticeable but it seems rather difficult: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QT9jQh4dvYw]

So to the ladies and gents with double eyelids, I say appreciate the fact that you have beautiful, wide, youthful looking eyes without having to ever think about them until now.

To the men and women who opted for eyelid surgery, I say congratulations! You can wake up with double eyelids without ever having to struggle with stickers and glue. I know that you already appreciate them, so good on you 🙂

And to the gals and guys with monolids, I say embrace it! Know you are beautiful whether or not you opt to transform into double eyelids. And for the days you cannot be bothered using those finicky—GAH!—stickers, remember that there is someone who thinks squinty monolids are sexy as.

Just to be clear, I like all kinds of eyelids. I am in no way saying one type of eyelid is better than the other. I just want the world to know that I am comfortable with my monolids and if you have monolids, you have a right to be comfortable with them too, or if you want to change them into double eyelids, that is totally your right too. PHEW!


Kim, D. W., & Bhatki, A. M. (2007). Upper Blepharoplasty in the Asian Eyelid, 15(2007), 327–335.