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August 1988

The California Syndrome: A Threat to All

Author Affiliations

Davis, Calif

Arch Ophthalmol. 1988;106(8):1053-1054. doi:10.1001/archopht.1988.01060140209024

Every ophthalmologist may see patients with The California Syndrome who are "feigning for gain." Malingering patients produce special problems if we are to prevent them from receiving undeserved economic reward. In our original article on the California syndrome,1 my colleagues and I described 84 patients with functional visual loss (59 adults and 25 children) who were seen in the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of California, Davis, from June 1977 to June 1983. Fifty-one (86%) of the 59 adults had functional complaints, with financial gain as the prime motivation. The potential financial gain resulted from disability payments, Worker's Compensation, or litigation. The majority of initiating events were work related or resulted from motor vehicle accidents. The children, ages 7 to 17 years, in general, had psychosocial problems as the cause of their functional complaints. Since our six-year study in June 1983, we have seen an additional 53 adult

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