Following a hailstorm of criticism over complaints that the new iPhone 11’s lens cluster triggers reactions from people suffering from a fear of holes, a scientist has come forward to say trypophobia is a very real — and troublesome — illness.

Geoff Cole, a visual scientist at England’s University of Essex, says trypophobia can manifest as a range of reactions with different levels of severity. “Te phobia arises in part because the inducing stimuli share basic visual characteristics with those of dangerous organisms,” he says. The camera lens cluster on the new iPhone forms a “spectral composition, something you don’t see in the natural world — except in poisonous animals,” he adds.

Complaints by trypophobia sufferers began to surface after Tuesday’s unveiling of the new iPhone 11. The basic version features a two-lens cluster, while the Pro and Pro Max sport three lenses. Apple has not yet commented.

What’s your phobia? Will you be rushing out to get a new iPhone?

More about: