The impact of prosopagnosia
Prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness, means you cannot recognise people’s faces.
Face blindness often affects people from birth and is usually a problem a person has for most or all of their life. It can have a severe impact on everyday life.
Many people with proso-pagnosia are not able to recognise family members, partners or friends. They may cope by using alternative strategies to recognise people, such as remembering the way they walk or their hairstyle, voice or clothing. But these types of strategies do not always work – for example, when a person with prosopagnosia meets someone in an unfamiliar location.
A person with proso-pagnosia may avoid social interaction and develop social anxiety disorder, an overwhelming fear of social situations. They may also have difficulty forming re-lationships or experience problems with their career. Feelings of depression are common.
Some people with proso-pagnosia cannot recognise certain facial expressions, judge a person’s age or gender, or follow a person’s gaze. Others may not even recognise their own face in the mirror or in photos. Proso-pagnosia can affect a person’s ability to recognise objects, such as places or cars.
Many people also have difficulty navigating. This can involve an inability to process angles or distance, or pro-blems remembering places and landmarks.
Following the plot of films or television programmes can be almost impossible for someone with prosopagnosia because they struggle to recognise the characters.
Someone with prosopag-nosia may worry that they appear rude or not interested when they fail to recognise a person.
If you have problems recognising faces, your GP may refer you to a clinical neuropsychologist working within the NHS or private practice.
You may also be referred to a researcher who specialises in the field and is based at a nearby university.