What is Scotomaphobia?

Scotomaphobia is the abnormal and irrational fear of blindness. Although medical conditions such as poor vision or developing glaucoma may account for this fear, they are not required for the phobia to develop.

A fear of bright lights may originate, for instance, from a physically painful sensitivity to bright light, and through that, Scotomaphobia may develop out of this kind of discomfort.

People with this fear will often over-schedule regular optical exams. This phobia is also related to fear of disease, hypochriasis, etc. Sufferers of this phobia may fear brain tumors or other conditions that could result in blindness, regardless of symptoms, and may seek more advanced imaging studies such as MRI or CT scans.

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

If you want to be inspired to change your life, click here. You won't regret it.

Symptoms of Scotomaphobia

  • 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

Learn more about phobia symptoms ›

Causes of Scotomaphobia

Scotomaphobia is a specific (or “isolated”) phobia, centered on non-social key factors. Isolated phobias tend to have some previous trauma (often in childhood and often physically injurious) as a root cause; a fear of bees may stem from an injury in childhood, for instance.

Upbringing can also play a role, such as parental warnings about a direct threat (such as “snakes can bite and kill you”) which is especially notable in cases where a threat is more imminent. (An allergy to bees or peanut butter, for instance, would naturally reinforce a real medical concern.)

It is thought that genetics and hereditary factors may play a role in specific phobias, especially those related to a danger of injury. (A primal “fight or flight” reflex may be more easily triggered in those with a genetic predisposition, for instance.)

By contrast, social phobias (like a fear of body odor or touch) are less well-understood, are driven by social anxiety, and are broadly labeled as “social anxiety disorder”.

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.

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

Though medical issues may underlie development of this fear, no medical problems or symptoms are required for it.

Learn more about the causes of phobias ›

Treatments for Scotomaphobia

  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

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

Learn more about phobia treatments ›

Book Shelf