Hysteria is a fascinating phenomenon which can be succinctly defined as a flight from reality into illness. Almost always the manifestations of hysteria are multiple, involving vision, hearing, speech, sensory sensations of the extremities, etc. However, one area of involvement is usually predominant while others must be sought out.
In this series the presenting symptom was impairment of vision, a complaint sufficiently serious to warrant the most thorough investigation.
Studies in the literature on hysterical amblyopia have come for the most part from the military. Groups of cases have been reported from hospitals dealing with personnel in the armed forces, especially at induction or separation centers.1-6 In these instances individuals were confronted with a situation which could not be accepted (military service), and hysterical amblyopia resulted. Fortunately when the problem was removed, the cause of the amblyopia was abolished, and the person no longer required this protective mechanism.