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Ommetaphobia: The Fear of Eyes

Definition of Ommetaphobia or the fear of eyes. Article discusses the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of this phobia.

Ommetaphobia is an intense, irrational fear of eyes. While it may be obvious that the person coping with this phobia would have difficulty looking into the eyes of another person, some individuals are so intensely ommetaphobic that they are unable to wear eye makeup, mascara or contact lenses. Other individuals suffering with Ommetaphobia are so severely compromised that even talking about eyes can make them intensely fearful and panic stricken.

Ommetaphobia derives from the Greek word “omma”, meaning eye and “phobos” meaning fear.

What Causes Ommetaphobia?

As with all phobias, the person suffering with Ommetaphobia has experienced a trauma at some point in their life. That experience is then consistently and automatically associated with eyes.

Perhaps the ommetaphobic individual suffered a severe injury to the eye and a phobia developed. Maybe this person is superstitious as in being cursed by the evil eye. Maybe the person coping with Ommetaphobia has an extremely low self-esteem, actively avoided looking others in the eye and developed an overall fear of eyes. Perhaps this individual simply watched the negative and fearful reactions of others and began to imitate that response.

Whatever the cause, the ommetaphobic person can experience anxiety and emotional turmoil that is completely disruptive to their ability to function.

What Are the Symptoms of Ommetaphobia?

The symptoms of Ommetaphobia are individual and will vary among people. Some people, when confronted with their fear of eyes, may begin to perspire, feel slightly uncomfortable or become nauseated. At the opposite end of the spectrum, other people are so severely compromised by this phobia, that they may experience crippling anxiety and/or panic attacks.

Other symptoms of Ommetaphobia may include:

  • A Dry Mouth
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Numbness
  • Heightened Senses
  • Breathlessness
  • Feeling Dizzy
  • Muscle Tension
  • Hyperventilation
  • Trembling
  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Feeling Out of Control
  • Feeling Trapped and Unable to Escape
  • Intense Feeling of Impending Disaster

How Is Ommetaphobia Diagnosed?

The vast majority of cases of Ommetaphobia are self-diagnosed. The individual realizes that their fear of eyes is irrational and is severely compromising their ability to function on a daily basis.

The ommetaphobic person may discuss their phobia with the primary physician. Rarely would the doctor diagnosis Ommetaphobia based on that initial discussion with the patient. More routinely, after ruling out any medical reason for this phobia, the doctor will refer the person to a mental health professional for comprehensive assessment and evaluation.

How Is Ommetaphobia Treated?

When the fear of eyes becomes intense enough to disrupt an individual’s ability to function, there are a number of ways to treat Ommetaphobia.

These can include:

  • A referral from the primary physician to a therapist who specializes in the treatment of phobias.
  • Traditional “talk” therapy that will teach the person to recognize and control their phobia.
  • Hypnotherapy.
  • Exposure Therapy.
  • Self-help techniques such as purposeful muscle relaxation.
  • Support groups with other people who are coping with this specific phobia.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Desensitization Therapy.
  • Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and visualization.
  • In severe cases of Ommetaphobia, anti-anxiety medication can be prescribed.

Ommetaphobia is an intense, irrational fear of eyes. Sometimes that fear can become so overwhelming as to completely halt a person’s ability to function on a daily basis. Unchecked, Ommetaphobia can become a debilitating condition that interferes with an individual’s personal life, their social life and job responsibilities. Untreated, Ommetaphobia can have a devastating impact on every aspect of a person’s life.

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  1. Thanks! I am doing a report on phobias and this is a great reference!

  2. i have an eye phobia and my symptoms are that i cant touch my eyes or watch people touch their eyes. when something gets close to my eye my eyes freak out and blink faster than you can see. and the last thing is, is that everything i see i imagine it poking my eye out like a pencil wo this affects me when i writ or do almost anything

  3. Sucio, Perhaps you could use some of the self-help techniques I’ve described in the article. However, because you are so frightened, you may want to consider more professional support. I would suggest speaking to your doctor as a starting point.

    Good luck and all the best to you.

  4. I know it’s been a long time since the article was posted, but I felt the need to reply anyway.
    I have a problem very similar to Sucio.
    Ever since I’ve been around 9 or 10 years old(I’m 19 now), I’ve been having nightmares about horrible stuff happening to eyes or people missing eyes. Every few weeks or so I get nightmares again. Whenever I’m around spoons or sharp objects I get horrifying images in my head. Weird thing is that I do wear lenses and I don’t have any problem with them, but that’s about the only thing with eyes I don’t have a problem with.

    I had just been searching for this topic on Google and this was the first article I found that I could relate to.

  5. I know it\’s been a long time since the article was posted, but I felt the need to reply anyway.
    I have a problem very similar to Sucio.
    Ever since I\’ve been around 9 or 10 years old(I\’m 19 now), I\’ve been having nightmares about horrible stuff happening to eyes or people missing eyes. Every few weeks or so I get nightmares again. Whenever I\’m around spoons or sharp objects I get horrifying images in my head. Weird thing is that I do wear lenses and I don\’t have any problem with them, but that\’s about the only thing with eyes I don\’t have a problem with.

    I had just been searching for this topic on Google and this was the first article I found that I could relate to.

  6. Alexandra, I\’m glad you found the article useful and I hope you are able to overcome your fears.

  7. My fear is rather specific in that I am phobic about \”strange\” eyes. Altered eyes – enlarged or changed by special effects, more eyes than are normal, etc. For example, in an art museum, I once turned around to find myself no more than 24\” away from a collage of over fifty different individual paintings of eyes. I ran out of the room. I try to laugh it off because the logical part of my mind realizes the absurdity of being afraid of these things, but nevertheless, I am scared by them and must look away. Thank you for your article, helping me put a name to my fear, and helping me to appreciate that I am not alone.

  8. I have a fear of eyes. Like when I see magazines they have to be turned around, cause I feel like the eyes are staring at me or something. Also when I was younger I only wanted the kind of dolls that can close their eyes because I was/am afraid of the ones with open eyes.
    I can’t look my eyes in the mirror at night. I also can’t look someone that I do not have a close relationship with in the eyes for longer than a minute, in between I keep looking away and then looking back again.

  9. My wife has an extreme aversion to eyes. She turns animal figurines towards the wall, scared to death of most animals. Super sensitive to my eyes and facial expressions. We don\’t know why, cnnot remember childhood event or other. CBT very difficault. Anyone else have this phobia?

  10. When I was about 5 or 6 my brother and their friends showed me a picture of a guy wth his eyeballs popped out, and ever since I’ve been terrified of seeing eyes being popped out. I mean, I’m okay with just looking at eyes, In fact they facinate me, but eyes out of their sockets? Nope. I can’t do it. The two worst times ever was
    1. when my brother was reading guiness book of world records and showed me the page with the lady who can pop out her eyeballs super far. Couldn’t sleep for about a week.
    2. My brother and dad went to McDonalds and got a happy meal toy that was those little monsters where you squeezed it and the eyes bulged out.Ugh. Gives me shudders just thinking about it. I was only about 6 and my dad forced me to just stare at it for about 5 minutes.

    Even when someone has their eyes open really wide it makes me nervous because I feel like they’re gonna pop out. Now it’s not as bad, because I can see a picture of a person with their eyes popped out, and it’ll just make me jump a little, but I’ll still have to look away pretty qickly because it creeps me out… :/

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