While one of their descendants, Tien, makes regular appearances in the Dragon Ball franchise, the actual pure Three-Eyed People never appear in the series. The Three-Eyed People are first mentioned in the Daizenshuu books, and later in the small description booklet in the boxes for Dragon Ball Z Season 1 and Dragon Ball Z Season 4 DVDs, both mentioning that Tien is a "Descendant of the Three-Eyed People". Tien's origin is also referenced in the Dragon Ball: Raging Blast what-if story "The Top Earthling Tournament" where, after defeating Tien for the title of "strongest earthling", Krillin asks if Tien is even from Earth. Tien's profile in Dragon Ball: Raging Blast 2 mentions the Triclops as being an alien race. Tien's voice actor Hirotaka Suzuoki also noted in an interview that Tien was not an Earthling.
It is noted by Akira Toriyama that beings with a third eye on their forehead like Tien are thought to be godlike and possess the power of true seeing. However, due to being raised by the evil Master Shen, Tien lost the ability to use the myriad powers of his third eye for good purposes.
Daizenshuu 4 mentions that Tien has a unique physical composition as a throwback to his ancestors. He uses techniques that are impossible for a regular Human-type Earthling, such as growing arms from his back or splitting into four people (in the anime, however regular Earthlings like Krillin are also able to split into multiple people). He also possesses the ability to move each of his eyes independently, allowing him to look in multiple directions at once; this appears to enhance rather than compromise his vision like it would in real life, considering that he uses this talent while seeing through Master Roshi's and Goku's Afterimage Strike.
No members of the Three-Eyed People have ever been seen, though several hybrid Earthling descendants have been, the most notable being Tien Shinhan. In the anime and some video games like Xenoverse series, Cell and the Cell Juniors possess Tien's cells genetically making them part three-eyed people despite their noticeable lack of a third eye though this is likely due to him possessing a mixture of Earthling, Namekian, Saiyan, and Frieza Race cells as well.
In Dragon Ball FighterZ, Android 21 uses Tien's cells to create fast growing clones of him which are Three-eyed people/Earthling hybrids like Tien himself. However these clones like the rest of the clones of Z Fighters are mindless drones though they retain all the fighting abilities and techniques of their source material. These clones are eventually all destroyed in all three arcs through them being destroyed by the protagonists (which includes villains Frieza, Nappa, Ginyu Force, and Cell in the Enemy Warrior Arc) or by being consumed by Android 21 (or Evil 21 in the Android 21 Arc) as a makeshift food source to satiate her hunger. It is also implied that like Cell, Android 21 has Tien's cells incorporated into her through the fact that cells that make up Cell were apparently incorporated into her along with Majin Buu's cells (it should be noted the game apparently follows the anime storyline as Ginyu's body change with Tagoma from the Golden Frieza Saga is mentioned). If true this would make her and her fissions the only known female three-eyed hybrids though it is never clearly states that 21 has Tien's cells and like Cell she lacks a third eye as well.
In Dragon Ball Z: Budokai 2 and Dragon Ball Fusions, Tiencha a hybrid fusion created by Tien and Yamcha performing the Fusion Dance. Tiencha is the first known fusion of a descendant of three-eyed people. Additionally, Dragon Ball Fusions introduces his EX-Fusion counterpart EX Yamhan. In addition to these fusions, the game also introduces the EX-Fusion of Chiaotzu and Tien, Chiaohan. Jajee also has his own EX-Fusions as well.
- In popular culture, the third eye is from becoming enlightened (like the Hindu God Shiva). In Dragon Ball Z: The Legacy of Goku II, it is stated that Tien's third eye was achieved through deep meditation when the player scans the friendly Tien NPC with the scouter.
- Tien Shinhan being a descendant of the Three-Eyed People is a reference to the character Sharaku, who is also a descendant of an ancient race of three eyed humans in Osamu Tezuka's 1974 manga The Three-eyed One. The three eyed physical characteristic is also that of the character Erlang Shen from Journey to the West, which Akira Toriyama used as a prototype when he began creating the Dragon Ball manga series.
- Other three-eyed creatures in the Dragon Ball franchise include a female Zombie shown in an Other World café, and Ozotto the final boss of the arcade game Dragon Ball Z: V.R.V.S..
- In Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2, if Jaco fights Tien, he will state "Earthlings are indeed a varied race. I didn't know there were specimens with three eyes... How odd!", unaware that Tien is a descendant of the Three-Eyed People. Tien's retort to Jaco's comments about his odd number of eyes is, "Odd? Right back at you, spaceman."
- In Dragon Ball Fusions, there is an Earthling named Mabon who at first appears to be a descendant of the three-eyed clan as he seemingly possesses a third eye like Tien; However his in-game profile reveals that he drew a third eye on his forehead with a permanent marker as he looks up to Tien for his cool personality.