Have you ever had a young patient with reduced visual acuities at distance and near that could not be explained by refractive error? You suspect that they’re malingering or wanting to have glasses?
Have you heard of Streff Syndrome?
Streff Syndrome, also known as non-malingering syndrome, has been described as a functional vision problem. It often involves reduced or blurred distance and near vision, poor eye co-ordination and eye movement, a reduction in visual field and a reduction in focusing.
These symptoms are a result of anxiety or stress. Stress is a physical, mental or emotional reaction caused by a change that disturbs or interferes with the body’s normal equilibrium. It is often detected by teachers and parents due to a decline in academic performance, changes to attention and focus, or behavioural changes. Stress can impact visual health and function. Focusing can become difficult, and a tunnel vision effect can occur.
Streff Syndrome has more commonly been detected in females between 10-14 years of age. The condition is often self-limiting, but it is important to identify the stress causing the problem and taking the necessary steps to resolve it.