By Robert Tym
In 1977 several ladies with Traumatic Neurosis — later called PTSD – were referred to the author, a psychiatrist and one-time neurosurgeon. Each lady had persisting anxiety and distress following frightening accidents at work some years earlier. Oddly, they each had a strange abnormality of vision, also persisting since their accidents. Each had been told by their eye doctors that their vision problems were all hysterical, not real, and best ignored. To an ex-neurosurgeon this dismissive explanation seemed unreasonable. The Greek physician, Galen, who lived around 200 AD, told us all even then “We must be bold and go hunting for the truth; even if we do not come right up to it, at least we will get closer than we are now.” Together with two colleagues the author set off on what was to become a 30-year hunt, an investigation into visual abnormalities associated with PTSD. This book, for the layperson and expert alike, tells the story of the hunt, and of finding a tiny bit of new truth about human vision. A finding which is, for most with PTSD, very subtle and un-noticed but very real and certainly not hysterical. It provides, now, an evidence base for a much closer understanding of PTSD, telling us more of how PTSD entangles with many aspects of poor mental health at any age, and of what can be done about it.