When the blind hallucinate images

When the blind hallucinate images Here is Charles Bonnet as he might appear in a hallucination by a patient who has the disorder which is named after him.


Neurologist Oliver Sacks talks about Charles Bonnet Syndrome, a condition that creates hallucinations of geometric patterns, distorted faces and cartoon images in people who have impaired vision or are blind. These visual deceptions are not "optical illusions" because they’re created directly by the brain. Mr. Sacks repeats an intriguing question: How can the theater of the mind be generated by the machinery of the brain?

Oliver Sacks: What hallucination reveals about our minds

Charles Bonnet Syndrome at Retinal Physician>>

5 thoughts on “When the blind hallucinate images”

  • Jen Marshall says:

    I am almost convinced this is what my own mother is experiencing. The one question that I’ve yet to get the answer to is how long these ‘episodes’ can last. My mother has these visions sometimes up to three days solid. She has yet to tell me of cartoons or distortion but she sees people in many different situations. Does anyone know how long these particular types of hallucinations last?

  • Anonymous says:

    Dear Jen,

    The hallucinations might last for seconds to minutes to days.
    It would be wise to go and see a neurologist too so he can exclude any other conditions that may cause similar hallucinations. Ensure you tell them what you think it is, as many physicians are not aware of the Bonnet syndrome.

    It is important that your mother is not experiencing hallucinations of other senses (i.e. hearing voices or noises) as this would exclude CBS.

    Hope this helps you.

  • Bob Brown says:

    Jen:

    Try this UK site: RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) for some very good information about Charles Bonnet Syndrome.

    There is no cure, but it’s said that the syndrome improves with time.

    Experts suggest consulting either a family doctor or an eye doctor.

  • Minisquint says:

    An an optometrist, I’ve seen Charles Bonnet Syndrome more than once. I recommend seeing an O.D. who specializes in low vision. An optical aid might be used to improve vision and decrease the likelihood of hallucinations.

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