Charles Bonnet Syndrome – Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatments!

Those living with charles bonnet syndrome know that their hallucinations are not real, so the disease has not been linked to cognitive conditions. Like psychosis , schizophrenia , or dementia , which can also cause visual hallucinations.

What is charles bonnet syndrome?

Charles bonnet syndrome , also known as CBS, is a condition that affects cognitively healthy (most often elderly) people with partial or complete loss of vision. Those living with CBS often experience very vivid visual hallucinations that can range from simple to complex and can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, days, or even years. Although CBS affects people who are visually impaired, it does not affect those who are born with vision problems. (Only those who have sudden vision loss or age-related vision problems.)

Symptoms of charles bonnet syndrome :

The most notable symptoms are visual hallucinations. People living with CBS can experience two different categories of hallucinations:

Simple hallucinations: These hallucinations can include shapes, patterns, flashes of light and lines, among other unformed objects.

Complex hallucinations: These hallucinations can be fully formed and include images of people, animals, insects, scenes, repetitive patterns, and everyday objects.

People living with CBS also report seeing their hallucinations in color and in black and white. And while hallucinations are not disturbing, some people find it disturbing to see a person, animal, or foreign object in their home.

The timing, frequency and intensity of hallucinations can vary greatly from person to person. Many people living with CBS, however, experience hallucinations upon waking and may identify a pattern in the timing and frequency of their hallucinations after some time.

Since CBS is caused by other conditions that result in vision loss, it’s important to also look for symptoms of the underlying condition. Strokes , macular degeneration, cataracts , diabetic retinopathy , and other common conditions can lead to the development of charles bonnet syndrome , among other serious skin disorders .

Causes of Charles Bonnet Syndrome :

There is no single known cause. As mentioned earlier, CBS can be caused by other health conditions that damage vision, including:

Although charles bonnet syndrome  has been linked to certain health conditions, researchers are still not sure why people with visual impairments can experience visual hallucinations (but theories do exist).

A common theory suggests that when a person’s retinal cells can no longer send or receive images, the brain begins to create its own “ghost” images (similar to the phantom limb pain reported by people who have lost limbs).

Diagnosis of Charles Bonnet Syndrome :

Because charles bonnet syndrome  can be linked to more serious chronic conditions, it’s important to see your doctor at the onset of symptoms. Taking care of your condition early on can help prevent other health concerns in the future.

When you come to your appointment, be sure to bring a list of symptoms, including descriptions of hallucinations as well as their timing and frequency, any medications you are currently taking, and information about any other health events that may have contributed to your loss of consciousness. vision or disability.

There is no single tool or test your doctor will use to diagnose you or your loved one. Instead, they will likely do a physical exam and an eye exam, and ask for details about your visual water hallucinations . Some doctors may order an MRI scan or a memory exercise to rule out other cognitive problems.

Treatment of charles bonnet syndrome :

There is currently no cure for charles bonnet syndrome . Most treatment options aim to alleviate symptoms when they occur and make the condition more manageable.

If you’ve been diagnosed with CBS, your doctor may recommend:

Practicing eye care and regular visits to your eye doctor:

Treating the cause of vision impairment and improving visual ability is one of the best ways to control it. It has been reported that effective treatment of vision loss can reduce the severity and frequency of symptoms.

Avoiding triggers for CBS:

Some people living with CBS experience heightened hallucinations when they feel stressed, anxious, or isolated. Taking the proper steps to avoid these triggers can help prevent episodes.

Exercising Your Eyes: And Other Senses: Rapid eye movements and slow blinking can help relieve symptoms of CBS. Some doctors also recommend stimulating your other senses (with music, audiobooks, podcasts, or hands-on activities) during a hallucination.

Certain prescription drugs: Antidepressants and anticonvulsants are sometimes used to treat CBS, but are usually reserved for very severe cases that have not responded to more conventional treatment options.

As various conditions can lead to development, treatment options for associated symptoms vary greatly. Your doctor will determine a treatment plan based on the original cause of the vision impairment (such as a stroke), as well as your medical history and lifestyle.

Always speak with your doctor or eye doctor before undergoing any type of treatment for charles bonnet syndrome  or its associated health conditions.

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