What is Ommetaphobia?

Ommetaphobia (also spelled “Ommatophobia”) is the persistent and irrational fear of eyes. It is classified as a social phobia because it generally involves social contact. Cultural variations may determine if avoiding direct eye contact can be perceived as a sign of rudeness or disrespect, if looking into someone’s eyes directly is rude, etc., and such social implications usually play a direct role in the formation and behaviors associated with this phobia.

In extreme cases this phobia can be experienced in a variety of ways, including a fear of touching one’s own eyes, artistic depictions of eyes, avoidance of glasses, overuse of sunglasses, etc.

The root word 'ommato' is Greek meaning 'eye' and the word 'phobia' comes from the Greek word ‘phóbos’ meaning 'fear.'

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Symptoms of Ommetaphobia

  • Extreme Anxiety, Dread

  • Shortness of Breath
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Dry Mouth
  • Confusion / Inability to Articulate Clearly
  • Lack of Focus
  • Irritability
  • Shaking
  • Feelings of Powerlessness
  • Obsession with the Subject of the Phobia
  • Fear or Feelings of Losing Control
  • Avoidance Behavior
  • Headaches

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Causes of Ommetaphobia

Ommetaphobia is a social anxiety disorder. Social phobias result in avoidance of social situations due to fear of being embarrassed in public and affect men and women equally. Extreme social anxieties often start in childhood or adolescence and may be accompanied by other anxiety disorders or depression.

The origins of social anxiety disorders are not as well understood as specific (or “isolated”) phobias, where a direct fear of injury from some specific animal, thing, or situation forms a clear basis for the fear. Even so, hereditary factors may be present, such as a genetic tendency to be “high strung”, nervous, etc.

In all kinds of phobias, external experiences and / or reports can further reinforce or develop the fear, such as seeing a family member or friend who is affected. In extreme cases, indirect exposures can be as remote as overhearing a reference in conversation, seeing something in the news, on TV, or in the movies.

Ommetaphobia, like most phobias, stems from a subconscious overprotection mechanism, and as with many phobias can also be rooted in an unresolved emotional conflict.

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Treatments for Ommetaphobia

  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

  • Habit Strategies To Relax
  • Cognitive Therapy (CT)
  • In Vivo Exposure
  • Response Prevention
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Energy Psychology
  • Medication
  • Meditation

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