Eye asymmetry is making my existence unbear... - Changing Faces

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Eye asymmetry is making my existence unbearable

Tom_7
Tom_7

Hello everyone,

As this is an incredibly distressing situation for me I will let the photos do the talking as I can’t put into words the anguish I am facing due to my my facial deformity (Eye asymmetry). Taking the photograph of my deformity was heart wrenching and I burst into tears the second I viewed the image.

Has anyone experienced/come across a similar situation and able to provide me with any steps that can be taken moving forward?

I do plan on visiting my GP to explore my options but I am not too sure when this will be due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Thank you

30 Replies
oldestnewest

Do you have plagiocephaly by any chance?

Hello,

I don’t believe so, my head shape looks pretty normal compared to others. When looking at pictures of me as a child I didn’t have any eye asymmetry present.

The eye asymmetry seems to be skelatal. Maybe you should see a doctor with this issue check for ear asymmetry to rule out torticollis and plagiocephaly. Maybe it can be fixed with orbital box osteotomy but it depends on what the underlying condition is

Tom_7
Tom_7 in reply to Vinnieplagio

Hey Vinnie,

Thank you for your response, I do intend to visit my GP when things get back to normal. I hope they can refer me for some scans so I can understand the situation further and possibly look at treatment.

Vinnieplagio
Vinnieplagio in reply to Tom_7

Good idea and if you ever need a talk you can hit me up i have something similar going on :) you're not alone

Tom_7
Tom_7 in reply to Vinnieplagio

Thank you! Same applies to you :)

OK, I have taken photos like this and my own situation has vastly improved so before I give a proper answer could you kindly tell me -

Are you very slim with a low bmi, do you not eat as much as you probably should?

Is this picture taken as depicted in a mirror I. E is it taken backwards? Some selfies take photos as you see yourself in the mirror, not how you really look to other people?

Are you able to see this assymmetry in the mirror or just in photographs? Lastly, have other people ever commented on your eyes without you bringing them up first?

I know these questions may seem boring or even distressing to answer but I can tell you are unhappy and I want to be able to answer you properly.😊

Georgia xx

Tom_7
Tom_7 in reply to PinkLady90

Hey Georgia, I hope you’re well!

Funnily enough I calculated my BMI this morning and I’m actually considered overweight (I’m blaming this on staying inside the house recently haha)

The picture was taken with my rear phone camera and so is what the world sees of me. The weird thing is that in the mirror/reversed pictures i can see barely any asymmetry, it’s only on photos where it is visible.

As this largely begun during puberty I did have some comments about my eyes when at school and college (At least 6 years ago). Nobody mentions anything about my eyes directly to me anyway.

PinkLady90
PinkLady90 in reply to Tom_7

Ok, well it's good that it was taken as people really see you. People with the standard assymmetry hate photos of themselves and prefer the mirror image they are used to seeing. Those with assymmetry slightly worse than average look worse in the mirror than they actually look so let that comfort you at least when you look in the mirror!

Firstly, I am going to be honest, you do have slight assymmetry. It's noticeable because you have drawn attention to it primarily but I would probably have noticed anyway BUT..it does not make you look as bad as you think.

You may think I'm trying to make you feel better but I wouldn't lie to someone, it wouldn't be right. The fact that no one mentions it to you speaks volumes and I can understand why. It's a pity you didn't post a pic of your whole face not focusing only on your flaw! It really is not bad looking for someone walking past in the street to notice or if they happened to, to think you look bad.

I think although your assymmetry is only slightly noticeable being a man helps you. Men can have scars and women find that sexy. Some women anyway, myself included. Men looking rugged and imperfect will not affect girls interest in them. I'm sure you have had girlfriends! Here is where facial flaws is sexist. Women are expected to fit an ideal of blonde fluffy perfection, scars and assymmetry not included. Men can get away with alot more.

To sum up, before you fall asleep😄 you don't need to feel as awful as you do. Yes one eye is higher up than the other but not so much that it renders you unattractive. I think you look fine and I mean that. I look at your pic and think no way would anybody consider it a deformity either so please don't think about it like that. However if it really is affecting your confidence and happiness yes see your doctor and there are things that can be done. I believe botox can make the assymmetry less noticeable and surgery is also an option but it would be painful and complex because your features are fully formed . I know it does exist though , whether you would get it free on the NHS would depend on the severity of your depression.

Sorry for long post. I have been as honest as I can be and I don't think you look bad in the slightest. It's z bit like "yeah, I can see that but so what " lol, your face (what I can see of it! ) is not unattractive. I hope you can learn to love yourself as you are because you do not have a deformity but slightly worse than average assymmetry. That is all.

Love Georgia x

Tom_7
Tom_7 in reply to PinkLady90

Thank you for the kind words Georgia, it’s certainly reassured me to know others don’t see it the way I do (as in my head is probably way exaggerated than it actually is).

I think once normal life resumes I’ll book an appointment with my GP to see what’s available through the NHS.

Stay safe!

younique
youniqueCommunity Ambassador in reply to PinkLady90

Even if we/you do have deformities we are deserving of love and self acceptance as well. :)

PinkLady90
PinkLady90 in reply to younique

That's very true but sadly it can be a superficial judgemental world we live in, and seems to be getting worse in that respect all the time, selfies? ? Filters? ? Airbrushing your children's school photos? It's not healthy, it promotes the notion that only appearances matter and that causes fear and misery for so many people. Society never used to be this focused on looks, it mattered romantically of course but society didn't expect folk on the street to look like pin ups and celebrities. Now it's almost demanded of young women and teenagers. Everything is about looks. I just get concerned about the way the world is going, sorry for long post!! You made a lovely post btw 😇

younique
youniqueCommunity Ambassador in reply to PinkLady90

For sure we live in a superficial society I believe it's always been that way. Perhaps it's getting worse but eventually people will see that a shallow way of life isn't sustainable. Individually and collectively people will start to wake up, because that's the nature of progress.

So my point isn't whether or not society is shallow and superficial (it is), my point is, despite that, people with visible differences, whether due to "normal" asymmetrical variants, or anomalous deformities, are just as deserving of love and acceptance as anyone else. In your reply to Tom you reassured him more than once that he's not deformed, and used that as a justifiable reason for loving himself.

Just as racism, sexism, ableism and all other systemic prejudices are harmful, so is facial inequality. This presents itself in obvious, and in the case of your reply, unobvious ways.

I think it's important to point this out because often we don't recognize our own latent prejudices... again, due to it being systemic, not due to a failing on your part at all. 😊

Thank you for the compliment! Don't feel bad about long replies they are always encouraged here! Connecting in a real, honest way, giving and receiving support, is what this forum is all about. ❤️

PinkLady90
PinkLady90 in reply to younique

I noticed that in my reply after reading your post and winced because although I am very harsh on myself I honestly don't judge other people for the way they look, quite the opposite.

I promise I don't have a latent prejudice because I know what's it like to constantly judge yourself and find yourself lacking and have promised myself never to judge people for things they are unable to change.

I think the reason I answered that way was because Tom described how awful his perception of himself was making him feel, in fact he couldn't talk about it in too much detail it upset him so badly so chose to put up his pic instead.

When I read that I think because his perceived "deformity " was causing him so much pain I wanted to reassure him he did not look as bad as he thought and certainly did not look deformed. I didn't say that to make him feel better, I truly think that, but I think I framed my answer that way because his happiness depended on the severity of his perceived flaws to others.

For example if someone who did have a facial deformity wanted reassurance in the same way I would be honest in the most kind tactful way possible about the physical trait BUT I would also say what I truly believe as you do, that everyone is entitled to love and accept themselves and that bring treated respectfully is most certainly not dependent on how one looks. If you can see from my response where I misunderstand your post to me, I actually think placing importance on physical appearance is deeply unhealthy for the individual and society as a whole and it doesn't come naturally to me at all. I will , however endeavour to consider my answers more thoroughly in future.👍

But as I say, I think I responded to Tom in that way due to the way I felt his happiness depended on a positive perception from others and I knew I could honestly give that. But in framing my answer that way as you correctly state, I failed to impart the most important point of all. Thankyou for the feedback, it is appreciated 😊💜, PinkLady xx

EllieChangingFaces
EllieChangingFacesAdministrator in reply to PinkLady90

What a great thread! Language is a tricky and subtle thing and can trip up even the most well-meaning of people, as you've discussed so eloquently.

I'm reminded of the fat acceptance and body positivity movements, which seek to highlight how quick we can all be to say things like 'you're not fat, you're beautiful!', (as if it's impossible to be both at the same time).

Simple shifts in language can have a huge effect - consider the different implications of saying 'you have a visible difference, BUT you still deserve love and acceptance', versus 'you have a visible difference AND you deserve love and acceptance'.

These kinds of things are so entrenched, as younique said, that it doesn't mean you're a bad person if you catch yourself doing them. We're all learning!

Thanks for the great conversation. Hope you're all safe and well and have a lovely weekend.

- Ellie

younique
youniqueCommunity Ambassador

Hi Tom! Yes the existential angst you feel has been all too familiar for me. I have an asymmetrical body, and a misshapen head. It's not readily noticeable so the difficult thing for me has been feeling normal/accepted and then having it taken away once people see I'm different. I've had people comment on it, laugh at me, ask questions. I've had people not see it at all, tell me it's no big deal, think I'm making it up. Even the surgeon didn't really notice or take my concerns seriously until they took scans of my head.

I had surgery on my forehead because my plagio caused a flat head on one side. He only did my forehead because that was my biggest insecurity and now I realize it's made my condition worse. I wish he would have suggested a full head implant and I don't know why he didn't. I was worried I'd be walking around with a huge noggin if I had gone that route, but it may have been better if I did. I feel good about facing people from the front now, so that's be a relief. My therapist didn't even see my difference after months of working together, until I pointed it out.

So the back of my head is most affected since the front is now symmetrical. It makes me extremely paranoid going out in public knowing people are staring but I'm not able to "catch" them. I'm also terrified people are taking pictures of me because I look so different. I know it may sound like I'm overreacting but these things have literally happened to me over the years so I expect the worst of people.

So basically just, yes. I understand your pain. And the only way I've been able to feel ok with myself (even love myself) is through honest reflection, therapy, this support forum, and an unyielding determination to keep growing stronger and getting better.

I hope for you, healing and self compassion, forgiveness, and peace in difficult times. 🙏 I am glad you've found us and I look forward to more of your posts. 😊

Tom_7
Tom_7 in reply to younique

Hello,

I’m so sorry to hear everything you have gone through, it’s great to know you’re feeling better now.

I do believe that in our minds we exaggerate our flaws so much more than they actually appear.

I have these issues too, only for me I did not notice until my optician said my eyesight was deteriorating in one eye due to one eye being slightly higher than the other. I hadn't even noticed until he made that comment and then I spent a year obsessing over it. So please try not to think too much about it because most people have flaws, and it's not usually noticable until someone looks very closely, and overthinking is not good for mental health. It turned out my asymmetry was caused by a cranial nerve palsy which was causing me to turn my head at an angle and its caused one side of my face to be slightly underdeveloped. I had to go private for a facial assessment, my gp has been less then helpful though, and I only recieved cognitive behavioral therapy, to try and 'accept my flaws'.

Tom_7
Tom_7 in reply to UnicornBlue

Hello, thanks for your kind words. Have you been followed up on your facial assessment?

UnicornBlue
UnicornBlue in reply to Tom_7

No follow up yet, due to the pandemic everything is postponed.

EllieChangingFaces
EllieChangingFacesAdministrator in reply to UnicornBlue

Hi UnicornBlue,

I'm sorry to hear you haven't found your GP to be very helpful. How did you find the CBT you had (if you're happy to share)?

I wanted to let you know that Changing Faces offer various kinds of emotional support - you can find out more by visiting changingfaces.org.uk/advice... if you're interested.

Take care and have a good weekend.

For me I didn't find the CBT helpful. It seemed like exercises designed to 'distract' me from my thoughts, rather than addressing my actual problems. I think for someone who's problems are perhaps imagined (body dysmorphic) CBT could help them, but I have a vision problem which led to physical/structural changes in my face / skull, and its that I wanted to try and 'fix'.

Hi Tom, and everyone.

I just joined this group today because of my issues with eye asymmetry. Mine are caused by congenital ptosis of one eye, meaning the levator muscle does not completely lift my right eyelid. So I constantly have one eye more closed than the other. Have been bullied a lot for this through life and I’m 27 now. I’m sorry for anything you’ve gone through.

I’ve had four surgeries with ocular surgeons from age 12-18, but none worked to fix the muscle, so I’m stuck with the ptosis and some scarring on my eyelid where they operated. At 27, have given up on fixing it.

I’ve been bullied and beaten up for it. I really struggle a lot with a similar issue and hope the best for you and all of us as we hope to get over these things.

Tom_7
Tom_7 in reply to bachmaninoff

Hello, I’m really sorry to hear the issues you have faced, I can’t believe people would be that cruel to you.

Have you tried to revisit the issue with a surgeon or tried therapy?

EllieChangingFaces
EllieChangingFacesAdministrator in reply to bachmaninoff

Hi bachmaninoff (great name!),

We're glad you found us. Hopefully you'll find this a helpful and friendly place to get support from other people who deal with appearance-related issues. It sounds like you've been through a lot because of your ptosis - it must have been difficult to go through multiple surgeries with the hope of resolving things, only to be disappointed each time.

Are you getting/looking for any support for the emotional side of things? We have a number of services you might be interested in - you can find out more at changingfaces.org.uk/advice....

Hi Bachmaninoff. I've got an asymmetrical face due to my cancer (so different reasons to yourself and Tom, and therefore different surgery options so I'm sorry I can't share my knowledge with that). I've had various surgeries (age 18, and 26-28) and mine wasn't as successful as I hoped; my facial skin just did it's own thing! I have seen a surgeon to see what my surgery options are, and I've decided it's not medically worth it for me and I don't want to mentally go through more surgery and be hopeful it will work and then be disappointed. So I sort of get where you are coming from. I think deciding to have surgery or not is such a personal thing. and it takes finding out all your options from a surgeon/specialist and soul searching, and deciding what is right for you, which was not an easy process (for me anyway due to possible complications). A small part of me wishes surgery was a viable option still, but ultimately I've decided 'no' so I can feel relaxed about my decision and focus on feeling confident with how I look now. I'm really sorry to hear you've been bullied and beaten up. No-one deserves that. The bullies are the people who have something wrong with them. I avoided drawing attention to myself as a child so I wouldn't get bullied, but I still got called names. Well done for getting through it. I really hope it's not still happening, and I hope with maturity that the bullies come to realise the harm they have done.

Hi Tom, Thanks for sharing your photo. I can see your eyes are not symmetrical but it's hard to see your eyes in context, as part of your whole face and personality, and also how you look when you are relaxed and just being yourself, which are equally important. I completely understand that you feel upset by it; they are your genuine feelings. From all the comments I've read in reply to your post you have definitely come to the right forum and everyone is really caring. I think things aren't helped needing to wait for Covid-19 because I guess you also feel a bit helpless or frustrated just waiting when you want to be able to visit your GP and get to see a specialist and get answers, rather than trying to guess yourself what it is and what your options might be. This waiting possibly adds to the upset that you feel about your eyes? especially as this time is already lots of unknowns and much more time at home. For me, seeing the expert and finding info was all part of accepting what was happening for me. Be kind to yourself in the meantime.

Tom_7
Tom_7 in reply to flowersong

Hello Flowersong, thank you for your kind words, I really appreciate them :) At the moment it is incredibly difficuilt waiting for normality to resume so I can speak to my GP and get an expert's opinion as opposed to spending countless hours online researching online.

Hi Tom. Sorry for delayed reply. Covid-19 lockdown got to me a bit in the last 2 weeks as I miss my family etc. I'm doing good. I guess everyone is having their 'Covid-19 moment' :-). With your post, I agree waiting is really hard, especially when you don't know the time frame. I think researching online (in place of not being able to see an expert yet) is a really useful alternative. As long as you use reputable websites (eg NHS or charities/organisations that specialise in that area) because then you are reading factual information that is accurate, and you are learning a lot about your potential condition. People's physical and emotional experiences are good to read too as it helps you feel not so alone, but remember each person's experience is different so might not be exactly the same for you, and their info might not be accurate. Any information that you read that you feel you need clarity on, you can write it as a question for the expert you hope to see (and put those questions in priority order in case you don't have time to ask them all). This means when you see the expert you will be knowledgeable and prepared for the meeting. I say this because when I was waiting (3-4 months) to see a specialist about a side affect of my cancer treatment, like you I did a lot of internet research and I was worried I was being OTT. However I felt I needed to do the research as it really helped me and I followed my own rules above to make it safe. I also allowed myself the time to do it but tried to limit my 'hours spent' to a healthy level. Research was all part of accepting what was happening for me, and my research got less with time. So maybe your research can be beneficial while you wait; it's a control you have, in a not-so-in-control situation. Good luck and I hope you get some answers really soon.

Tom_7
Tom_7 in reply to flowersong

Thank you for the advice Flowersong, I'll be sure to update my post when I have any major updates.

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