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Psychogenic loss of vision: diagnostics and implications for the rehabilitation process

Presentatie (Engelstalig) van Frank Hoeben tijdens het congres Vision 2014 in Melbourne.

A considerable number of patients with unexplained visual disorders are referred to the Bartiméus low vision rehabilitation institute.

A majority of these patients prove to have psychogenic visual loss. Two patient groups can be distinguished: children (mostly) girls 8 - 15 yrs old, and adults. Both groups can present themselves with visual acuity loss, visual field loss, strong photophobia, or a combination of these symptoms. A suspicion of psychogenic vision loss may be raised following a referral without clear diagnosis, but also following incongruent results from the usual functional tests or during the rehabilitation process. Psychogenic loss of vision requires a completely different rehabilitation approach compared to organic vision loss. Over the years, we have acquired a lot of experience with this group.

First of all, accurate diagnostics is paramount. Diagnostics is done at the ophthalmology department using VEP electrophysiology for acuity loss, or eye-tracker techniques for visual field loss. Treatment consists of a two-track approach: therapy from a specialized psychotherapist, in combination with limited rehabilitation with the usual training and aids. An overview of the diagnostic and rehabilitation approach for these particular groups of patients will be discussed. More information:

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