The Charles Bonnet syndrome: a review of recent research

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The Charles Bonnet syndrome is a disorder of visual hallucinations typically occurring in older persons with vision impairment or deafferentation of the visual cortex. This review cites recent studies on Charles Bonnet syndrome and discusses treatment options. The numbers of affected persons will increase with aging of the population, making recognition and treatment important components of ophthalmologic care.

Recent findings

The etiology of the Charles Bonnet syndrome is varied; most often it involves direct damage to the visual system (e.g. age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma) but it may also result from cerebral pathology interrupting connections between the eye and the occipital cortex. Case reports of different management approaches demonstrate the range of treatment options.

Summary

This review suggests that the Charles Bonnet syndrome will affect an increasingly large number of older persons as the population ages and the occurrence of vision and cerebral disorders increases. Clinical trials of antipsychotic and other medications, as well as low-vision rehabilitation, are necessary to establish valid treatments for this disorder.

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