Patient Comments: Face Blindness (Prosopagnosia) - Signs

Question:

Please describe signs and symptoms of face blindness in someone you know. Submit Your Comment

Comment from: Proso girl, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 11

Face blindness is a cruel and socially crippling disorder. I have never had the experience of meeting people more than once. If dealing with a clerk (photo lab), just breaking eye contact for a split second will have me ask the person at the till to find the person who was serving me. It’s embarrassing. At the pharmacy they must think I’m high.

Comment from: Mansellyn, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 26

I was 57 before I understood that such a thing as face blindness exists. I have struggled with “names” all my life. However, after 5 years of life I still couldn’t recognize my spouse out of context. I failed to be able to recognize my children out of context. After 20 years of marriage I was unable to recognize my spouse even though I expected him to be in the building. There is this fear of these people speaking to me as if they are my friends when I don’t know them. I just told my family. Sigh.

Comment from: effazin, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 20

It is a relief to know face blindness is really a thing! As a (retired) classroom teacher, I was always embarrassed that it took me months to be able to recognize my students, even in my own classroom, unless they were in their assigned seats. I depended on hairstyles, accessories, voice or repeated behaviors. I gained a reputation for being scatterbrained or rude as I often 'ignored' people, or addressed colleagues by the wrong name - which of the three tall, bald men on staff am I talking to!

Comment from: csg, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: October 24

It took me until I was in my twenties before I knew that face blindness was my problem. I would tell co-workers to not be offended if I walked by them with acknowledging them. I have walked by family members without “seeing” them. Going to crowded events with friends will cause problems if we separate and have to meet up as I have such a hard time finding them in the sea of faces. I use voices as a clue, but don’t have a very good “ear” so that doesn’t always work either.

Comment from: Whoareyou, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 12

I cannot remember when my face blindness started, but I feel as though it has worsened with time. It is an embarrassing syndrome, and I get upset with myself when I meet people that I should know well and they stand before me a total stranger whilst I jig-saw together their voice, their conversations, clothes, tattoos, jewellery, hairstyles and even smell. Only after this lengthy process can I recall them and often at this point they have moved on in a social situation. It’s quite embarrassing.

Comment from: M. , 35-44 Female (Caregiver) Published: July 02

I was assaulted, my Jaw was broken on my left and right side. My jaw bone actually broke and cracked through my left wisdom tooth. Both my wisdom teeth were pulled during surgery. I now have metal plates with screws. Eight months late I'm experiencing tooth pain, restlessness, swelling and numbness in my mouth, even my gums. My jaw feels heavy all the time.

Comment from: RickAK, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: June 04

I worked for over 20 years in prison and could remember hundreds of names and faces until I retired then it started to slip. I was injured on that job by a hit over the head that rendered me unconscious (I fell) - that might have been the trigger for my face blindness I wonder. More importantly, I recently opened an art studio and have returning customers, and I have no idea who they are until they remind me of a previous conversation subject matter. I don’t know where I can get help.

Comment from: McDuff, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: February 25

As an Engineering Projects Manager I would find myself hosting a meeting with the client's staff responsible for many different aspects of the project. While sitting around a boardroom table I would know who was responsible for civil work, structural considerations, production, electrics and all other services and could respond accordingly to their questions. However, as soon as we moved from that fixed situation by going for lunch, I wouldn't have a clue who was who. My face blindness was most embarrassing!

Comment from: Making it, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: September 17

I have face blindness. To me, I wonder sometimes if my brain actually sees too much (I did score in the mid-90 percent in spatial test). Each time the person turns, my brain takes a photo. If I look at all of the photos of the same person from different angles, it looks like different people and not the same person. My brain cannot put all of the images into one folder with one name. You know how someone says people from a certain race or culture all look the same? Well, that's my whole life for all people.

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Comment from: Nic, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: August 09

I can meet people 10 times and they still look like a stranger the next time I see them. Other people (usually with more distinguishing features) I can recognize after only meeting once. A lot of people look alike to me because of my face blindness. I’m fine with my good friends, but with people I only see occasionally, I can’t tell them apart. My mother is the same but worse - she can’t tell me from her sister. I run a restaurant so I smile and talk to everyone like I know them, just in case I do.

Comment from: Carmen, Female (Patient) Published: February 25

I didn't realize I had face blindness until I saw the term, till my early twenties I thought I was just clueless about faces. This is not confusing someone, it's not having the ability to recognize faces. Many people think that I'm rude because I don't say hi to them even if they are neighbors unless they stick to wearing almost always the same style of clothes and I see them at a usual time I'll know it's them. When I had this neighbor who wore different wigs every week I never knew it was her. It's also happened with friends, family members and boyfriends. When I walk my dog and I see other people walking their dogs I always recognize them through their dogs. Otherwise it's just a sea of faces. One time it took me minutes to realize I was in a picture. Unless someone points me to the person they are talking about in pictures I don't recognize them. I have very little social life, but I don't really feel it's that terrible since I didn't lose this ability, I never had it and that's how I live my life.

Comment from: Kati, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 01

I had 2 temporal lobe strokes, 1 each side in 1999. As payroll clerk, I couldn't keep workers’ faces straight; I paid the wrong guy with another’s pay. I did not recognize my client at my daughter’s wedding (my client for 2 years at that time). It is terribly hard to be bookkeeper, keep accounts/receivable and accounts/payable people straight. I don't work now, that was the final straw. Now I always ask people who they are up front immediately. I still don't recognize faces, even my live-in daughter sometimes. Movie ‘Faces in the crowd’ and Brad Pitt article clued me in to what is wrong. Hope the future holds some remedy.

Comment from: N Jain, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: January 19

I met with a car accident in 2004 when I was just 19 years old, now I am 30. I had subdural hemorrhage due to which I lost eye sight, had wrist drop and multiple other issues. Everything is normal now, I am married, doing business, am a fashion designer, and everything is just fine. Only thing I want in my life is being able to recognize faces that include my wife, my parents, and my kids. Every other thing is still manageable just a thing that brings chills to me is if I am in a crowd I am not sure if I would be able to recognize them. There is a research team in Harvard University who have been researching on this but when I wrote to them, they said they don’t have enough funds to continue research on foreign patients and they don’t have many subjects to do research on.

Comment from: Addie, 75 or over Female (Caregiver) Published: December 28

My Dad is 88. After being put under anesthesia twice in less than 24 hours over 4 years ago, his memory began to slip badly. Now, he doesn't recognize faces. My stepmom, whom he has been married to for over 40 years, can be sitting 2 feet from him and he keeps asking her where his wife is. Then he calls me and wants to know if she's with me. The only thing I did different tonight was tell him that is his bride, she's just 40 years older and he started crying and telling her he had been looking for her, etc. I wonder if this is part of dementia or face blindness.

Comment from: Jennifer, 75 or over Female (Patient) Published: October 04

I was born during a German air raid on Manchester and was subject to extremely loud bombing attacks until the war was over. Consequently, without knowing, I read peoples' lips, and not the features of the rest of the face. For the past twenty years, I have worn hearing aids and I do try to watch their faces apart from the lips. Also my mother used to whack me, with her right hand, on my left ear, which left me with a ringing ear. I soon learned to duck and run away, and it was a wonderful learning experience with my own daughters.

Comment from: Linda, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: August 07

I was about 30 before I realized I was different with facial recognition. I worked hard a remembering peoples names. I had all their information in my head, but did not help because it was their face I was not recognizing. I rank in the 20% category, so I do OK if I work at remembering distinct features when meeting them. This is key for me. It makes movie watching troublsome because I can not keep the characters straight, but try to employ same tactics as with real life. So, I still watch movies, with a little help from friends.

Comment from: Anastasia, 65-74 Female Published: May 28

I just heard that Brad Pitt may have prosopagnosia. I never knew this condition had a name. For as long as I can recall, I, too, have had trouble remembering faces. I usually have to see a person three times in a relatively short period of time in order to remember their face. I have somehow managed to cope with this even though I have been in the real estate business for more than 30 years. Often, I’ve had to say to people, "Refresh my memory," when they say “hello” to me. As soon as they tell me who they are, my memory clicks in and I know exactly who they are. Other times, I’ve had long conversations with people whom I have not had a clue where I met them! I have not had a stroke or brain injury that I know of. I did suffer a blow to my nose when I was around 7 and had a deviated septum, which was corrected by surgery. I am also diabetic, but have my A1/C under control and have no associated health issues. I’m so glad to know there are others like me. I understand what Brad Pitt must be going through – he says people think he's stuck up or ignoring them. I'm sure lots of people have thought that of me in my lifetime. Hope this helps.

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