Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Eye Fold

Series of accessory eye structures at the anterior eye region that may occur separately or in various combinations in human populations. One fold is the epicanthic fold which attaches at the inner corner of the eye. A second type of fold occurs when there is a thick fatty layer in the eyelid; this results in the eyelid (palpebra) puffing forward and sagging on top of the eyelashes. In some populations there are also fatty deposits in the cheeks that accentuate the folds of the eyes, providing the appearance that is stereotypically associated with Far Eastern populations. There is no consensus as to what the function of the eye folds is, but it has been suggested they are associated with cold weather adaptation. However, the eye folds found in the Khoisan Kung have led workers to suggest an adaptation against glare (both in the desert and off of snow).

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