Ian Jordan, F.B.D.O.(C.L.), an optician in the U.K., has developed the first treatment for prosopagnosia––or “face blindness.”
Prosopagnosia is the inability to recognize faces or facial expressions and is caused by an underdeveloped or damaged visual perception pathway. The condition occurs in approximately 2.5% of the population worldwide, and nearly half of those affected are autistic. In rare instances, prosopagnosia may also result secondary to brain trauma or stroke.
Mr. Jordan’s rehabilitative treatment employs the use of lenses, lens filters and a special lighting system with a range of 16 million colors. By filtering certain colors and enhancing others, Mr. Jordan is able to determine which particular color normalizes the patient’s sight.
A woman with ‘face blindness’ is now able to recognize faces thanks to special lenses designed by a U.K. optician.
Then, he can prescribe specifically tailored lenses using that color, enabling the patient to see and process images properly.
“This treatment is a real breakthrough and will be life-changing for those with prosopagnosia because, up until now, there hasn’t been any way to treat it––just techniques and strategies to deal with the consequences,” Mr. Jordan says. “Some people are able to piece together a person’s identity by recognizing the way they walk, or the sound of their voice, but the prospect of meeting and having to identify new people, either socially, at work or at school, can be very distressing.”
In an interview with BBC News, patient Alan Mandelson talked about his experience: “Before I started going for [this treatment] I was kind of a social recluse, staying around the house. I didn’t even want to make friends.” But now, “[this treatment] gave me more confidence to go out and actually try to socialize.”
“Prosopagnosia responds extremely well to optometric intervention,” wrote Mr. Jordan in a 2009 article in the U.K. magazine Optometry Today. “And therefore it seems reasonable to expect optometrists to address this problem in the future.”
To learn more, go to www.jordanseyes.com/page15.htm.