Blind Patient Gains Sight Through Alter Personality

Before you get too excited, note the date of this article is 2007. Why isn’t this all over the news?

First, the report is on one patient – not much to go on. If indeed researchers thought there was a breakthrough and some alters could really be blind while others aren’t, it’s likely that money would have been poured into further investigations in this observation. But… like a spent balloon, it went fizzled.


Nervenarzt. 2007 Nov;78(11):1303-9.

Sighted and blind in one person: a case report and conclusions on the psychoneurobiology of vision

[Article in German]

Author information

  • 1Praxis für Psychotherapie, Enhuberstrasse 1, 80333 München.


We present a patient with dissociative identity disorder (DID) who after 15 years of diagnosed cortical blindness gradually regained sight during psychotherapeutic treatment. At first only a few personality states regained vision, whereas others remained blind. This was confirmed by electrophysiological measurement, in which visual evoked potentials (VEP) were absent in the blind personality states but normal and stable in the seeing states. The switch between these states could happen momentarily. As a neural basis of such psychogenic blindness, we assume a top-down modulation of activity in the primary visual pathway, possibly at the level of the thalamus or the primary visual cortex. Therefore VEPs do not allow distinction of psychogenic blindness from organic disruption of the visual pathway. In summary, psychogenic blindness seems to suppress visual information at an early neural stage.

[PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

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