Living in a Long Nightmare: Understanding Prosopometamorphopsia

In the morning, Victor Sharrah awoke in fear as he saw his roommate with distorted features such as pointed ears, enormous eyes, and a slanted mouth that extended to the edges of his face. Trying to stay calm, Sharrah took his dog for a walk only to encounter people on the street with equally strange and twisted faces. This experience led him to believe he had entered a demonic world. Despite his fears, Sharrah eventually discovered that he suffered from a rare vision condition known as prosopometamorphopsia or PMO.

PMO causes faces to appear distorted in various ways. For Sharrah, the condition persisted for over three years. He could see faces normally on flat screens, which allowed researchers at Dartmouth College to create images depicting how people with PMO perceive faces in real life. The cause of PMO remains unknown, but it is believed to be a symptom rather than a disorder. Brain injuries may not always be related to PMO, as in Sharrah’s case. Only about 75 cases of PMO have been reported in scientific literature, but more individuals have sought help from experts due to the frightening nature of the condition. It is sometimes misdiagnosed as schizophrenia or psychosis.

Sharrah has learned to adapt to his condition by using tinted glasses to lessen the severity of facial distortions. While he no longer wears the glasses, the overwhelming presence of distorted faces in crowded places can still be challenging for many patients who face this difficult decision: whether or not to share their experiences with others and risk being perceived as crazy. Sharrah hopes that by sharing his story, he can help others with PMO avoid unnecessary hospitalization for psychosis and learn how they can adapt and live normal lives despite their condition.

By Samantha Johnson

As a content writer at, I craft engaging and informative articles that aim to captivate readers and provide them with valuable insights. With a background in journalism and a passion for storytelling, I thoroughly enjoy delving into diverse topics, conducting research, and producing compelling content that resonates with our audience. From breaking news pieces to in-depth features, I strive to deliver content that is both accurate and engaging, constantly seeking to bring fresh perspectives to our readers. Collaborating with a talented team of editors and journalists, I am committed to maintaining the high standards of journalism upheld by our publication.

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