There is not much readily available information on exactly how common the fear of eyes, which is also called "ommetaphobia," may or may not be within certain populations. There is such information available about social phobias, which is the category of phobias that encompasses the fear of eyes. Social phobias are generally considered to be in the constellation of anxiety disorders, and according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about 40 million adult Americans suffer from an anxiety disorder. This means that just over 18 percent of Americans over the age of 18 suffer from an anxiety disorder such as a social phobia every year.
The reason that this information is germane to an understanding of the occurrence of a fear of eyes is that many people who have one kind of anxiety disorder also suffer from multiple anxiety disorders. For example, someone might have multiple phobias that all fall under the category of anxiety disorders. Also, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly seven percent of Americans over the age of 18 suffer from social phobias in a given year. This means that about 15 million Americans suffer from a social phobia, such as the fear of eyes. Although this statistic does not cover the fear of eyes in children, the National Institute of Mental Health does note that social phobias like the fear of eyes begins in adolescence.
The fear of eyes is considered to be a social phobia rather than a phobia of specific objects because a great deal of social interaction requires direct eye contact. In many cultures, avoiding direct eye contact can be perceived as a sign of rudeness or disrespect. As such, a fear of eyes can be crippling for people who suffer with it. Unlike a fear of spiders, which is called arachnophobia, a fear of eyes directly relates to a person's interactions with friends, family members, colleagues, and anyone who they happen to meet while going about their daily lives.
People who suffer from ommetaphobia can cope with their anxiety in a number of ways. There are medications that can help people get over this kind of fear. There are also a number of therapeutic approaches that can be used to help people overcome fears such as the fear of eyes. One of the benefits of therapeutic treatment is that it can help people overcome the fear instead of simply halting it temporarily with medicine.