Visual impairment in hysteria

M C Barris, D I Kaufman, D Barberio
Documenta Ophthalmologica. Advances in Ophthalmology 1992, 82 (4): 369-82
We have reviewed the charts of 45 neuro-ophthamological patients diagnosed with 79 monocular visual field or visual acuity losses secondary to non-organic etiology. Our aim was to determine the percentage of patients that have improvement in vision. As part of the protocol, all patients had magnetic resonance images, pattern visual evoked potentials, and flash electroretinography in addition to complete neuro-ophthalmological examinations. A single physician performed both the initial and follow-up examinations of all patients. Thirty-three percent of these patients had visual field defects only, 62% had both visual field defects and visual acuity defects, and 5% had only visual acuity defects. After organic disease was ruled out, all were given a timetable for recovery and clear reassurance regarding their prognoses for visual recovery. Seventy-eight percent of these patients showed improvement or were normal, while 22% showed no improvement. Younger patients without obvious psychiatric disorder had better prognoses than older patients.

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