Canthal tilt

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The canthal tilt is the angle of the lateral canthus (outside corner of eye) in relation to the medial canthus (inside corner of eye).

A positive canthal (PCT) tilt means the lateral canthus is higher on the face in relation to the medial canthus.[1]

In contrast, a negative canthal tilt (NCT) means the lateral canthus is lower on the face than the medial canthus. A neutral canthal tilt is where one can roughly draw a straight horizontal line between the medial and lateral canthus. A negative canthal tilt is widely considered an unattractive feature.[2]

In men, having a negative canthal tilt is often deemed a feature that imparts a 'dopey', unalert aspect to a man's appearance that is the opposite of the intimidating and piercing 'hunter eyes' that many consider ideal for men. However, some argue that an overly positive canthal tilt is not ideal either,[3] as it can make one look 'alien like' or otherwise unusual. This may be because overly upslanted-looking eyes are associated with developmental disorders, such as microcephaly.[4] An extreme negative canthal tilt can also present with rare genetic disorders that interfere with the correct symmetrical development of the palpebral fissure, a symptom which is called euryblepharon.[5] Thus extremes in both directions are associated with an unusual and generally unattractive appearance. Some plastic surgeons have proposed that the 'ideal' canthal tilt for men is no more than 1-2° in men and 3-4° in women.[6]

In a study conducted, 93% of people preferred women with positive canthal tilts,[7] and it is a feature found more often in individuals with particularly attractive faces (beauty competition winners) compared to average looking control subjects among individuals of both sexes.[8] A positive canthal tilt is likely considered particularly attractive among females as it is a pedomorphic (childlike) neotenous trait that is more pronounced among infants, and neoteny is a strong component of female human facial attractiveness.[9] As the tendons and ligaments around the canthus weaken with age the eye often begins to shift to a negative canthal tilt, with surgeries such as canthoplasty often being sought out to correct this.[10] Therefore a negative canthal tilt is also often a sign of facial aging, which is particularly detrimental to female facial attractiveness.[11]

Canthal tilt is also mildly sexually dimorphic, with women being more likely to have upward slanting eyes than men, at least among Caucasians.[12][13] A positive canthal tilt is also more common among East Asians, however female East Asian faces that are judged to be particularly attractive have a less pronounced positive canthal tilt than what is typical for those populations, a situation which is reversed in regards to female Caucasian and African faces.[14]

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