January 1996

Persistent Palinopsia Following Ingestion of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD)

Author Affiliations

From the Midwest Eye Institute, Methodist Hospital of Indiana and the Departments of Ophthalmology and Neurology, Indiana University Medical Center, Indianapolis.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1996;114(1):47-50. doi:10.1001/archopht.1996.01100130045007

Objective:  To identify a distinctive chronic visual complication of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) use.

Design:  Description of the clinical findings in three patients with this disorder.

Setting:  A neuro-ophthalmology referral center.

Results:  All three patients experienced prolonged afterimages (palinopsia) during LSD intoxication and have continued to be symptomatic up to 3 years after they ceased to ingest the drug. Results of neuroophthalmologic and neurologic examinations and neuroimaging and electrophysiologic studies were normal.

Conclusions:  We have described three patients in whom persistent palinopsia developed following ingestion of LSD. Clinicians should inquire about past LSD use in all patients who initially have seemingly spontaneous, isolated palinopsia. Recognition of this distinctive clinical syndrome associated with LSD use might avoid unnecessary anxiety and excessive diagnostic tests for patients with this disorder.