Charles Bonnet’s syndrome: not only a condition of the elderly
- 309 Downloads
To investigate whether the experience of visual hallucinations, namely Charles Bonnet’s syndrome, in psychologically healthy people is a phenomenon solely of elderly, visually impaired people.
In a prospective controlled study, four groups of subjects (total 324) were formed: age ≤40 years, no visual impairment; age ≤40 years, visually impaired; age >40 years, no visual impairment; age >40 years, visually impaired. Visual impairment was defined as best-corrected visual acuity ≤0.3 (Snellen) in the better-seeing eye. Each group consisted of 81 subjects. Visual hallucinations were defined as complex visual perceptions. After ruling out psychiatric causes for visual hallucinations or medication related to the experience of visual hallucinations, affected subjects underwent a detailed interview about their visual hallucinations.
The prevalence of visual hallucinations among young subjects with visual impairment was 4.9 %; among the elderly visually impaired subjects, it was 6.2 %. The difference was not statistically significant. No subject without visual impairment experienced visual hallucinations.
Charles Bonnet’s syndrome is not limited to elderly people suffering from visual impairment, though there tends to be a higher prevalence of visual hallucinations in this group.
KeywordsCharles Bonnet’s syndrome Visual hallucinations Visual impairment
This manuscript contains parts of the thesis of Marlene Rudy.
Compliance with ethical standards
KA Ponto is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF 01EO1003).
No funding was received for this research.
Conflict of interest
All authors certify that they have no affiliations with or involvement in any organization or entity with any financial interest (such as honoraria; educational grants; participation in speakers’ bureaus; membership, employment, consultancies, stock ownership, or other equity interest; and expert testimony or patent-licensing arrangements), or non-financial interest (such as personal or professional relationships, affiliations, knowledge, or beliefs) in the subject matter or materials discussed in this manuscript.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants or their legal guardians included in the study.
- 1.de Morsier G (1967) The Charles Bonnet syndrome: visual hallucinations in the aged without mental deficiency. Ann Med Psychol (Paris) 2:678–702Google Scholar
- 6.Teunisse RJ, Cruysberg JR, Verbeek A, Zitman FG (1995) The Charles Bonnet syndrome: a large prospective study in The Netherlands. A study of the prevalence of the Charles Bonnet syndrome and associated factors in 500 patients attending the University Department of Ophthalmology at Nijmegen. Br J Psychiatry J Ment Sci 166:254–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- 17.Adachi N, Watanabe T, Matsuda H, Onuma T (2000) Hyperperfusion in the lateral temporal cortex, the striatum and the thalamus during complex visual hallucinations: single photon emission computed tomography findings in patients with Charles Bonnet syndrome. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 54:157–162. doi: 10.1046/j.1440-1819.2000.00652.x CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- 19.Scheurich A, Muller MJ, Siessmeier T, Bartenstein P, Schmidt LG, Fellgiebel A (2005) Validating the DemTect with 18-fluoro-2-deoxy-glucose positron emission tomography as a sensitive neuropsychological screening test for early alzheimer disease in patients of a memory clinic. Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 20:271–277. doi: 10.1159/000088248 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar