Kerneis1 collected in 1902 from the literature thirty-four cases of bilateral hysterical amaurosis, to which de Schweinitz,2 who quotes him, adds several others which were published later, and I have been able to find four additional cases myself.
Hysterical blindness may be of sudden or gradual onset and affect one or both eyes. It may last from a few hours to several years and may be intermittent in character. Hasenknoff3 reports a case of recurring hysterical blindness in a boy, aged 10 years, with astasiaabasia and hysterical vomiting. In all recorded cases vision was sooner or later restored, so the prognosis is good.
Blindness, in the absence of inflammatory changes, and with normal fundi and pupillary reaction, is strongly suggestive of hysteria. Sudden onset and sudden termination also argue for this diagnosis and indeed hardly admit of any other. Among the other symptoms accompanying hysterical blindness have
DILLER T. HYSTERICAL BLINDNESS: NOTES OF THREE CASES, ONE OF WHICH EXHIBITED ASTEREOGNOSIS. JAMA. 1909;LII(17):1307–1308. doi:10.1001/jama.1909.25420430003002
Coronavirus Resource Center
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Create a personal account or sign in to: