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Seeing again: treatment of functional visual loss

Abstract

There is very little published literature on treatment strategies for functional visual loss. We present two people with long duration of functional visual loss who achieved complete recovery with a novel combination of therapeutic approaches. These included: (1) the clinician being transparent regarding positive signs such as optokinetic nystagmus, in order to persuade family members of the diagnosis, (2) regularly positively acknowledging everyday events that indicated visual ability, (3) using occipital transcranial magnetic stimulation to induce phosphenes as an artificial temporary visual experience and (4) using hypnotherapy to promote visual recovery. We discuss these individual therapeutic approaches in further detail including their background and rationale and include patients’ reflection on their treatment experiences.

  • functional neurological disorder
  • medically unexplained
  • psychogenic
  • non-organic
  • conversion disorder
  • visual loss

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