In relation to its body size, the eyes of an elephant are tiny. As with many other mammals, they cannot distinguish colours and their range is very restricted.
An elephant can see well for 25 to 30 metres. Between 50 and 100 metres images are already fuzzy, and further away the animal can no longer distinguish shapes though it can detect a moving object.
This handicap is largely compensated for by the elephant’s extremely developed senses of smell and hearing.
The colour of elephants’ eyes ranges from dark brown (most common) to purple. Elephants hate having their eyes touched and will close their eyelids immediately. There are three eyelids: upper and lower lids and a final flap that protects the iris.
A specimen in good health has naturally clear and brilliant eyes, shaded with lashes approximately 2 cm long. The eyes lose their brightness and clarity with age. They also tend to weep.