Phantom Eye Syndrome - Eye Cancer Patients 'See' Without Eyes

Hanson Instruments

With similar results to sensations felt by amputees following the loss of limbs, a recent study has shown that many patients who have lost an eye through cancer, feel pain or the ability to 'see' despite the loss of their physical eye. The study by Liverpool University reported that over 40% of those researched experienced phantom eye syndrome.

Whilst it is common place to hear stories of people feeling pain, extra weight, discomfort or feeling in limbs that have been removed due to accident or illness, it is perhaps quite unusual to hear such reports in those who have suffered the loss of their eye. Not only have many experienced a sense of feeling in the physical sense, where the eye should be, more remarkably, some described the ability to see colours and over a quarter detailed the level of their symptoms as being able to actually 'see.' This condition is known as phantom eye syndrome and as the name suggests, covers a persons ability to feel or sense where their is no physical possibility, due to a removal of the eye itself.

The study by Liverpool University researched almost 200 patients who has lost an eye due to uveal melanoma, a form of eye cancer, during the previous 54 months. Almost 50% complained or reported signs of feeling, pain or sense in their missing eye. Almost 30% actually described their symptoms as being akin to being able to physically see.

The research performed in this project is hoped to be an important part of helping amputees in the recovery from their surgery as they can be made aware of such symptoms occurring in the future, so that they may be better prepared for their recuperation process.