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March 1955

Psychogenic Ocular Symptoms

Author Affiliations


AMA Arch Ophthalmol. 1955;53(3):318-329. doi:10.1001/archopht.1955.00930010320002

Many writers have used the term ocular neuroses to describe neurotic ocular symptoms. This usage is highly inaccurate and, by ignoring the complexities of character structure from which all neurotic symptoms arise, has led to fanciful discussions of whether ophthalmologists may not cause or cure ocular neuroses.1 Depending on whether or not a physician is psychiatrically well informed and emotionally well balanced, he may aggravate or ameliorate neurotic tendencies, but he does not cause or cure neuroses by his method of handling the ocular symptoms. I shall describe in its proper context an asthenopia of neurotic origin which I "cured," only to find that a urethritis of neurotic origin had taken its place.

A knowledge of psychiatric and psychoanalytic theory is of immense value to any physician. In spite of the maze of conflicting propositions to be found in these theories, such knowledge creates the frame of thought in

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