Charles Bonnet Syndrome

oliver sacks

Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS) is a condition that causes patients with visual loss to have complex visual hallucinations, first described by Charles Bonnet in 1760, and first introduced into English-speaking psychiatry in 1982. Sufferers, who are mentally healthy people with often significant visual loss, have vivid, complex recurrent visual hallucinations. Often they come in the form of ‘lilliput hallucinations,’ in which objects are smaller than normal.

Sufferers understand that the hallucinations are not real, and the hallucinations are only visual. People suffering from CBS may experience a wide variety of hallucinations, such as images of complex colored patterns and images of people, or animals, plants or trees and inanimate objects. The hallucinations also often fit into the person’s surroundings. Oliver Sacks, a neurologist and author who suffers from a retinal tumor, gave a TED talk about this and other visual hallucinations.

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