What is Charles Bonet Syndrome?
CBS is simply visual hallucinations caused when the brain tries to fill in visual gaps. It is not an eye condition in its own right but is experienced by many people undergoing loss of previously complete vision.
Who can have CBS?
Anyone who has previously had full vision — which Is now deteriorating — can experience these visual hallucinations. It is thought that more than one in four people with deteriorating vision will experience CBS, regardless of whether their eye condition is Macular Degeneration or Diabetic Retinopathy or any other condition which causes progressive vision loss.
Living with CBS
People who have CBS may believe they are mentally ill because of these hallucinations, which can range from things which may appear to enhance what they can see around them, or pop up as completely unrelated visions in front of their eyes. For instance, some people may see many more people out on their street than are actually present at the time. Others may see an unrelated vision, like a vehicle, pass before them when they know there can be no vehicle present.
It is important to remember that these hallucinations, while disconcerting or even frightening, are not harmful — even though they come from the visual part of the brain. It’s merely the brain trying to fill in gaps once filled by actual visual stimuli. It is not a psychosis.
While there is no specific assistive technology which will help with Charles Bonet Syndrome because it is not a respecter of eye condition, it is important to tell family and friends, including your technology trainer, if you are experiencing any hallucinations.
At DATA Australasia you will receive empathy and support. We have lived experience of vision loss and vision management. Call us for all your assistive technology assessment and training needs.