Visual release hallucinations (Charles Bonnet syndrome)

Refers to the experience of complex visual hallucinations in a person with partial or severe blindness.

Mentally healthy people with significant vision loss may have vivid, complex recurrent visual hallucinations that are “lilliputian” in which the characters or objects are smaller than normal.

The most common hallucination is of faces or cartoons.

Hallucinations are only visual, that is, they do not occur in any other senses.

Among older adults 65 years or older with significant vision loss, the prevalence of the syndrome has been reported to be between 10% and 40%.

An Australian study has found the prevalence to be 17.5%, but Asian studies, report a much lower prevalence.

High incidence of non-reporting of this disorder.

Patients may experience a wide variety of hallucinations with images of complex colored patterns and images of people are most common, followed by animals, plants or trees and inanimate objects.

Predominantly affects people with visual impairments due to old age, diabetes or other damage to the eyes or optic pathways.

Central vision loss due to macular degeneration combined with peripheral vision loss from glaucoma may predispose to CBS, yet most people with such deficits do not develop the syndrome.

There is no treatment of effectiveness.

The syndrome may last a few days up to many years.

Hallucinations can last only a few seconds or continue for most of the day.

It is not a mental illness, but it can interfere with daily life.

Certain activities that can make the hallucinations stop as interrupting vision for a short time by closing the eyes or blinking is sometimes helpful.

No specific treatment available but reassurance that the CBS sufferer has not lost sanity.



Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS) occurs  in some people get when they lose some or all their vision. 



It results  them to have visual hallucinations.



With  loses of vision from diseases like age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy, the visual system does not process new images appropriately.



With impaired visual data coming through the eyes, the brain fills the void and makes up images or recalls stored images.



CBS primary characteristic is visual hallucinations. 



The visual hallucinations occur mostly  people have them when they wake up. 



The visual hallucinations vary:  



repeating patterns of lines, dots, or other geometric shapes.






people, animals, or insects



people dressed in costume.



imaginary creatures.



Hallucinations may move or remain still.



Can appear in black and white or color. 



Can last seconds, minutes, or hours.



To diagnose: must rule out other sources of visual hallucinations: 



mental health problems



dementia or Parkinson’s









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