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February 1970

Cataracts Following Chronic Headbanging: Report of Two Cases

Author Affiliations

New York
From the departments of ophthalmology (Dr. Spalter) and psychiatry (Drs. Bemporad and Sours), Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1970;83(2):182-186. doi:10.1001/archopht.1970.00990030184010

Two children with childhood schizophrenia (autism) were observed to develop bilateral mature cataracts after chronic headbanging. One of the children also developed bilateral total retinal detachments. This well known psychiatric symptom of headbanging or headhitting has not previously been recognized as responsible for the production of cataracts in either the psychiatric or ophthalmologic literature. A recent survey by the authors of a large group of severely disturbed children in a state mental hospital revealed the same ocular complications in a large percentage of cases. The physician's awareness of this problem should be stressed in the future management of these patients.

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