New Headway factsheet launched - Prosopagnosia: Face blindness after brain injury

New Headway factsheet launched - Prosopagnosia: Face blindness after brain injury

Hi all,

We're pleased to announce the launch of our new factsheet that focuses on prosopagnosia (face blindness). This often overlooked effect of a brain injury can be potentially devastating, as the inability to recognise faces can affect most social and family situations.

The factsheet includes information about the condition, examples of how it affects people and practical strategies to help people with prosopagnosia to cope.

You can read more and download the factsheet from our website at

If you or someone you know experiences this condition, we'd love to hear how if affects you in the comments below.

Best wishes,


4 Replies

  • "if you have this condition we'd love to here how it affects you" ok, you asked for it (joke), here goes.

    i cant be the only one. edit, no i think i must be.

    the factsheet is very good.

    i cant write about prosopagnosia in an interesting way because its just run of the mill, to me.

    ive got apperceptive prosopagnosia to some degree, its probably atypical. ive got altered colour vision perception & topographical disorientation that sometimes goes with prosopagnosia. i could be completely wrong, but i didnt see topographical disorientation mentioned in the headway leaflet which is interesting and excellent; its eminently possible that ive missed reading that knowing me .

    i'd like to know how this part of the brain got damaged?? i tried to read about it. it doesnt seem like it would be connected to the conditions i had, non-alcohol wernickes encephalopathy and DKA, but it would have to be i just cant find the literature

    i dont have synasthesia that people can also sometimes have with this region of brain damage.

    damage to the fusiform gyrus is responsible, involved in recognition, involved in dyslexia somehow. the way i write words is different from before the brain injury, letters are back to front, i choose the wrong words, but reading back i can see , a person with dyslexia couldnt. i think the fusiform gyrus is connected to the temporal lobe somehow, but i dont know how much a part of it it is, or how much its connected to the occipital lobe.

    i have not recognised my mother from inches away. i have been a couple a feet from and opposite a family member who i see every day, looked at him thinking who is that and why are they here? just out of curiosity.

    ive had a conversation with my next door neighbour, (i usually see her every day) not knowing who she was, this was the only time i found prosopagnosia mildly distressing, though more so it was a wierd blank confusion but more so sheer blankness (not making much sense). i dont recognise other neighbours, so the lady opposite tells me who she is.

    i for a few seconds dont recognise: my niece who stays in this house three days a week, and my brothers girlfriend, i see hertwice a week, but this is only momentarily.

    i think the (my) response to not recognising is atypical. sometimes my mind is completely blank/devoid, hard to describe the blankness to someone who has not had a similar brain injury. i dont think that i should be recognising someone, i am just completely blank /devoid of thought like time's stood still, i know with hindsight my demeanour must look frozen or something. it doesnt bother me, i forget about it instantly. i dont know what happens. at times ive thought i do know that i know this person, any second now i will recognise them. when i do recognise, its all in a flash all at once, i dont rely on one feature to help . its just part of a certain type of brain injury for me.

    i think thats it and i have got it mild.

  • Hi Eleanor,

    Many thanks for your feedback and for describing your situation.

    It sounds like you have a number of issues surrounding the prosopagnosia and perhaps a cognitive element to this (the 'blankness' you describe?) that makes it a little less clear-cut. I take it you've had assessments from neurologists etc in the past? It's probably quite difficult to answer the questions of exactly how certain areas of the brain were damaged given the conditions that caused it, but it certainly doesn't sound unfamiliar.

    We're here to support you if you need anything, so do get in touch with our helpline (0808 800 2244 or if you'd like to talk anything through.

    Topographical disorientation isn't mentioned in the factsheet and it would be helpful to include something, I'll pass this on for the next revision.

    Thanks again for your feedback on this, it's really helpful and please let us know if there's anything we can help with.

    Best wishes,


  • Hi

    no, thank you for putting a name to what i couldn't describe - a slight cognitive thing - this is helpful and useful also, as are your factsheets and books. reading the books enables really quite a few ah ha! moments i'd imagine!

    i hurriedly replied to this post on the spur of the moment. could i just mention with hindsight that i totally acknowledge that prosopagnosia can be a distressing condition, as is pointed out in the factsheet, its only for the fact that i have it mild that i get away with it not bothering me.

    ive had neurological assessments, but will be having further assessments soon. an opthalmologist didnt understand how my colour blindness that originates in the brain, that can be related to prosopagnosia, could have been caused by wernickes encephalopathy. i was lacking capacity at the point where i saw the opthalmologist, so didnt think to ask him about whether DKA could have been a causative factor.

    i have had great help from headway, specifically in regard to bouncing ideas around about solicitors firms, and something else i'm sure but its gone from my memory atm :). thankyou for putting it there again, that youre there to help and best wishes to you too.


    I'm surprised you only had one respondent to your Post/question?

    Possibly because we had a post 2014 I think about 'perception' - were we seeing what we thought we were! However since moving to a new village, stress included in 2014 where it was all new people I met, I still do have trouble in recognising the new people from a distance, and/or in a car they can drive right towards or pass me. I recognise the cars but do have to peer closer up or have my long distance glasses on.

    Having had 2 cataract ops Mar 2013, it improved my near sight for reading which I can now without wearing glasses at all. The double vision though at a distance, especially looking at sky on a dark clear night even with glasses on or bino's is still there.

    So I suppose the face non recognition is really at mid distance, 20-50 feet away! I recognise more the height and shape of people to think oh that must be ???, but when I hear them speak and am right there with them it's not a problem. They are basically all local acquaintances, so it's not a friends/family thing with me, as dont see them because they live in UK where I'm not! Lol. I do have a problem in that I think many people on tv look like people in the village and vice versa.

    I always wearing glasses to watch TV also, about 8 feet away from me.

    So is it all a question of how the brain processes the visual information it receives via the optic nerves?

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