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
- Heightened Senses
- Feeling Dizzy
- Muscle Tension
- 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.
- 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.