June 16, 2024

Faces Out of Proportion: One Man’s Journey with PMO and the Struggle for Normalcy

1 min read
The Bizarre Visual Disorder of Prosopometamorphopsia: Living in a Prolonged Nightmare

A chef from Tennessee, Victor Sharrah woke up one morning to a shocking sight. He saw his roommate with pointy ears, gigantic eyes, and a slanted mouth that extended to the edges of his face. Feeling terrified, he tried to stay calm and took his dog for a walk, but the people he passed on the street had equally strange faces. With the help of experts, he discovered that he suffers from prosopometamorphopsia or PMO – a rare vision condition where people see distorted faces in different ways.

Sharrah’s condition is unique in that faces on flat screens appear normal to him. Researchers at Dartmouth College have created photorealistic images to depict how individuals with PMO perceive distorted faces. While there is no cure for this condition, it can be managed with glasses with a green tint or cognitive-behavioral therapy.

Despite having PMO for over three years, Sharrah found relief through an online support group and learned to adapt to his new world. However, crowded places can still be overwhelming as “demons” surround him. Many individuals with PMO face stigma and are often reluctant to share their experiences with others due to fear of being perceived as crazy. Sharrah shared her story hoping to raise awareness about this condition and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations for psychosis.

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