Charles Bonnet Syndrome
Charles Bonnet Syndrome (pronounced bo NAY) is a condition that causes people with decreased vision to have visual hallucinations. Charles Bonnet Syndrome is named after the 18th century Swiss scientist, Charles Bonnet, who described this condition in his grandfather, and who later developed it himself. Patients may see complex images such as people, animals, insects, or flowers. The hallucinations can be very disturbing since the patient is generally aware that the images are not real. Because hallucinations may cause some patients to think they are “going crazy,” they may avoid telling anyone, including their doctors, for fear of what others may think. Patients may be concerned that they may have other medical problems such as a dementia. Charles Bonnet Syndrome is most commonly seen in elderly patients with macular degeneration affecting both eyes. There is no treatment of the condition, other than supportive reassurance. Most patients improve over time, as they adjust to the hallucinations.