Charles Bonnet syndrome

Charles Bonnet syndrome

Information taken from Macular Society website, and their leaflet ‘Visual Hallucinations’ (available at our practice)

Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS) causes people who have a lot of sight loss to see images that aren’t there (hallucinations). The hallucinations can be simple shapes, or complex images of people, objects or landscapes. They are not a sign of mental illness, and are visual images only, not accompanied by sound or smells. They are the brain’s response to reduced visual input.

Treatments are available and are also being currently developed and researched.  Some eye movements and exercises may help the hallucinations to disappear.

Brain scan studies have revealed what happened in the brains of people while they hallucinate. The visual area of the brain expects to receive a flood of complex electrical signals. When this does not happen, e.g. with sight loss, the signals slow and the idle visual brain cells begin to fire spontaneously.

Support is available from the Macular Society Counselling Service – 0300 3030111

A variety of Macular Society information leaflets are available at our practice.

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