“Hi, my name is Josh, and I suffer from Ommetaphobia.”
Ommetaphobia is the fear of eyes or eye care and can have a severe impact on a victim's eye health. This problem can be the result of some sort of eye-related trauma occurring at a younger age or being exposed to disturbing images involving eyes.
Have any of you seen the seminal Lucio Fulci movie ZOMBIE 2? There’s a scene where the wife of the crazy doctor (who is right by the way) is fighting a zombie, and we are forced to watch while her eye is slowly and painfully pierced by a giant splinter. I first saw this when I was sixteen, and it’s haunted my nightmares ever since. Even writing this paragraph goosebumps dominate the flesh of my arms and back.
I was born with really fucked up vision.
Or, more accurately, I have a severely lazy eye.
One of my earliest memories is wearing an eyepatch and doing daily exercises to strengthen my right eye. These were before the age of one, but I swear I do remember at least the ghost of these events. When I was little, I believe my right eye drifted so fart toward my right ear it was impossible to drift any further. There are pictures of me from the age of zero to six months perpetually sporting an eye patch. When I was six months old, the doctor put me inn a set of goggles and at one, I received my first pair of honest to Tesla glasses.
Do any of you think it’s a good idea to put glasses, even if in 1977 they were all plastic, in the hands of a one-year-old boy who even at 42 has to fight the urge to put everything in his big mouth?
Of course you don’t, but apparently, my doctor did.
The doomed baby sized spectacles were light blue with thick lenses. I’ve seen pictures of them, and they were adorable. So of course, the first thing I did was break them in half and try to put them in the aforementioned fat baby mouth. Following the age of one, I sported a litany of some of the worst glasses
Why is my life like this?
Fucked if I know.
As far back as I can remember I’ve been told to protect my left eye. It’s the only one worth a damn, and if I ever lose the use of it, I’ll be relegated to a world dominated by amorphous shapes and colors. From family to teachers, to doctors, and finally friend I have heard some form of the refrain “Take care of your eyes.” Just a word to all of you who’ve said this in my life. I love you all, and I do not in any way blame you for my phobia.
Why am I bringing this up?
Yesterday, for the first time in almost a decade, I had a full blown panic attack.
It’s been more than seven years since I’ve allowed one of those monsters with the title “Optometrist” anywhere near my face. For the last nine months, I’ve fought the desperate need to have the portals to my vacant soul checked.
When I made the appointment two weeks ago, I nearly vomited.
When, three days ago, my phone gave me my first reminder I nearly threw it across the room.
Wednesday sleep time was filled with nightmares.
Yesterday, the drive to the shop of horrors called Bright Eyes Optical was aking to my own death march.
Sitting in the lobby, it took all my will not to run.
Getting in the chair seated in the middle of a torture chamber worthy of a Hostel movie made me want to cry.
The exam will not be spoken of.
Then it was over.
I picked out my frames, paid for the whole kit and kaboodle, and escaped the house of pain in a whirlwind of semi-controlled mania.
I will be happy when I pick up my new specs (solid black frames by the way and I love them). I will e beyond sparked with joy that I’ll be able to see clearly again. And I will forget that in two years I have to endure all of this again.
That’s how it works.
I’m not stupid, at least about this issue, I know my fears are irrational. I know after forty-two years nothing will happen to me. I know the puff of air in the eye exam is not the hot breath of a cobra ready to strike. I know my genial elderly optometrist isn’t a hideous sadist of Hannibal Lecture like proportions.
I know all of this, but it doesn’t matter.
I have a phobia.
A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, defined by a persistent and excessive fear of an object or situation. The phobia typically results in a rapid onset of fear and is present for more than six months. The affected person goes to great lengths to avoid the situation or object, to a degree greater than the actual danger posed. (Thank you Wikipedia)
There’s nothing normal or rational about this fear, but it’s real. I’ve lived with this as far back as I can remember. I doubt I will ever live without the fear though I hope the act of sharing it will help lessen the fear.
To all of you who suffer from Ommetaphobia, you are not alone.
- Josh (05/03/2019)