Idiopathic photoreceptor dysfunction causes unexplained visual acuity loss in later adulthood

Ophthalmology. 1990 Dec;97(12):1632-7. doi: 10.1016/s0161-6420(90)32366-7.


Progressive visual loss, caused by initially unrecognized retinal photoreceptor dysfunction predominantly affecting cones, developed in six patients in late adulthood. Because of minimal ophthalmoscopic retinal abnormalities, the patients initially had been suspected of having optic neuropathy or psychogenic visual loss. The correct diagnosis was ultimately established by finding electroretinographic abnormalities and color discrimination losses out of proportion to visual acuity loss. In no case was a causative agent or a family history of photoreceptor disease identified. In many other respects, however, features of the patients' illness resemble those described previously under the headings of cone dysfunction syndrome, cone dystrophy, cone degeneration, and cone-rod dystrophy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Color Vision Defects / diagnosis
  • Color Vision Defects / etiology
  • Dark Adaptation
  • Diagnostic Errors
  • Electroretinography
  • Female
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Fundus Oculi
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Photoreceptor Cells
  • Retinal Degeneration / complications*
  • Retinal Degeneration / diagnosis
  • Vision Disorders / etiology*