Eyesight is a powerful sense—but the eyebrows? It turns out they’re mighty too!

Eyebrows help protect your eyes.

Whether combating sweat, rain or snow, dirt or dust, your eyebrows are like a filter and aqueduct designed to help keep moisture and debris out of your eyes. Anatomically speaking, the shape of your forehead and the placement of eyebrows sitting on the ridge above your eyes work together (with the help of your eyelids and eyelashes) to protect your eyes.

Of course, eye protection is the most important purpose your eyebrows serve. But these hairy wonders do a lot more.

For example, take a look at yourself in the mirror and imagine what you’d look like without eyebrows. Go ahead. We’ll wait.

Do you think your family and friends would recognize you without your eyebrows? Research published in the Journal of Vision (June 2013) suggests that there’s a very good chance that, at least at first, they wouldn’t.

Eyebrows are very important for facial recognition.

In short, missing eyebrows disrupt our brain’s ability to recognize faces.

Expanding on earlier research showing how important the eye area is to facial recognition, researchers at California State University, Fullerton, studied the relative role of eyes, eyebrows, and the eye region in face recognition. Researchers asked study participants to decide if pictures of two faces shown one after the other were of the same person or of different people. When the eyebrows were digitally removed from one face of two otherwise identical pictures, there was a significant drop in the number of people who recognized that the two pictures were of the same person.

Eyebrows enhance facial expressions and are key to non-verbal communication.

How often have you been able to tell what someone was thinking based solely on the look in his or her eyes?

From the happy, wide-eyed look of excitement to a frowning brow of discontent, your eyes and eyebrows can speak volumes. Non-verbal cues like facial expressions and body posture (body language) make up a large portion of our daily communication. Your eyebrows can help signal when you’re amused, curious, skeptical, confused, and more.

These subtle and not-so-subtle cues can have a big impact on people’s perception of you and how you relate to them.

Eyebrows help define your appearance.

what do you suppose these people all have in common?

  • Mexican artist Frida Kahlo
  • Funny men Groucho Marx and Eugene Levy
  • Model Cara Delevingne
  • Martial artists Bruce Lee and Jet Li
  • Bert from Sesame Street
  • Film director Martin Scorsese
  • Mr. Spock of Star Trek fame
  • Actors Sean Connery, Peter Gallagher, Moon Geun Young, Emilia Clarke, Lily Collins and Zachary Quinto
  • Mona Lisa, as painted by Leonardo da Vinci

Real or fictional, many people are known for their distinctive eyebrows—or lack thereof in Mona Lisa’s case. Whether you’re going for a fashionably tweezed look or an androgynous unibrow, the eyebrows can certainly help define your appearance.

Nothing in this blog post is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please see your eye care practitioner.

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