Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Going Blind

Late one evening, a guest called to say his son had gone blind. That was beyond my expertise, I explained, but the guest insisted on a housecall.

Sure enough, the son, age 18, seemed blind although my exam was otherwise normal. He seemed only mildly upset. A stroke affecting a tiny area of the optic nerve can cause blindness with no other symptoms, but this would be extremely odd. It could be psychosomatic, but it’s risky to jump to this conclusion, and the family insisted that nothing stressful was happening.

I sent them to an emergency room. The doctor found nothing abnormal and summoned an ophthalmologist who concluded that the blindness was psychosomatic. You’re probably wondering if he was right, but this is a real story. They checked out, and I never learned what happened. 

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