Charles Bonnet Syndrome: All About Eye Disorder That Causes Hallucinations | Health

Charles Bonnet syndrome or CBS can cause strange hallucinations and can scare the hell out of the affected person. It is a state in which one sees things that are not real. While people may initially feel as if they are suffering from a mental health problem or dementia, this is what happens when someone loses some or all of their vision. The loss of vision in both eyes increases the chance of being affected by the condition. The hallucinations can be of people, animals, patterns, shapes and can last a few seconds, minutes or even hours. There is no treatment for Charles Bonnet syndrome, but it can be managed with some effective tips. (Also Read: Mental Health Tips: 3 Effective Ways For Women To Overcome Everyday Stress)

What is Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS)

Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS) occurs after people lose all or part of their vision. It causes them to experience visual hallucinations (seeing things that aren’t really there). As suggested by a new study, this condition is the most commonly reported in people who have lost all or most of their vision.The occurrence is higher if vision loss occurs in both eyes.Charles Bonnet syndrome can affect you at any age, but it is most common in the elderly, as aging is more prone to visual impairment,” says Dr. Nikhil Seth Senior Consultant Ophthalmology, Marengo QRG Hospital, Faridabad.

Why CBS Causes Hallucinations

Explaining why the eye condition causes hallucinations in people who lose their sight, Dr. Seth explains, “In healthy vision, the retina (the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye) receives light entering your eye and transforms it into visual messages. brain. The brain interprets the visual messages so that you can see them. When people face vision loss due to a disease such as glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy, their visual system does not process new images “In the absence of visual data sent by your eyes, the brain fills the void and compensates for images or recalls stored images for you to see. This is what leads to the visual hallucinations of CBS,” says the expert.

Symptoms, types of hallucinations

Dr. Seth says people with the disorder experience some common visual hallucinations, but it can also vary from person to person. The length of the hallucinations can also vary. The expert says that people with Charles Bonnet syndrome develop visual hallucinations as the main symptoms when they wake up, but visual hallucinations can vary from person to person.

“People with this syndrome may see some common visual hallucinations, such as repeating patterns of lines, dots, or other geometric shapes, landscapes such as mountains or waterfalls, people, animals, or insects, people dressed in costumes from an earlier time, imaginary creatures such as dragons. The hallucinations can appear in vivid colors or black and white and can also move or remain still. The length of the hallucinations can be seconds, minutes or hours,” says Dr. Seth.

CBS diagnosis

“To diagnose this syndrome, the information about the medical history of patients is collected. Doctor sheds light on other sources of visual hallucinations, such as whether you are taking certain medications, mental health problems and other neurological (brain) disorders. If you are suffering from loss of vision and visual hallucinations without these other conditions, you may have CBS,” says Dr. Seth.


There is no recognized cure or effective treatment for Charles Bonnet syndrome. You can use a number of techniques to deal with the condition. Doctor Seth explains.

Talk about your hallucinations

Talk about your hallucinations as you talk to your therapist, your doctor, a friend, or a family member. Sharing your hallucination experience with someone can help you feel less isolated. You can simply remind yourself or your loved one that the hallucinations occurred due to vision loss and not due to a mental health problem.

Change the lighting in your room

If you experience hallucinations more often in low light or bright rooms, change the environment. Changing the lighting conditions can help reduce your hallucinations. For example, if hallucinations occur in dim lighting, turn on more lights or open the curtains. If you see hallucinations when it is very quiet, you can turn on a TV or radio.

Do this exercise

To control hallucinations, you can also move your eyes up or down or side to side (without moving your head), look away from the hallucinations, stare at the hallucinations, close and open your eyes, rest, and relax. You can get enough sleep and exercise, meditate to overcome fear.

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Charles Bonnet Syndrome: All About Eye Disorder That Causes Hallucinations | Health

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