In this paper we propose a hidden Markov model (HMM)-based method to analyze eye movement data. We conducted a simple face recognition task and recorded eye movements and performance of the participants. We used a variational Bayesian framework for Gaussian mixture models to estimate the distribution of fixation locations and modelled the fixation and transition data using HMMs. We showed that using HMMs, we can describe individuals’ eye movement strategies with both fixation locations and transition probabilities. By clustering these HMMs, we found that the strategies can be categorized into two subgroups; one was more holistic and the other was more analytical. Furthermore, we found that correct and wrong recognitions were associated with distinctive eye movement strategies. The difference between these strategies lied in their transition probabilities.