Charles Bonnet syndrome: Two case reports and review of the literature

Alberto Lerario, Andrea Ciammola, Barbara Poletti, Floriano Girotti, Vincenzo Silani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Visual hallucinations (VHs) can be associated with a variety of clinical conditions, and are also experienced by healthy people due to visual impairment. The condition is known as Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS). The circumstances favoring VHs support the hypothesis that sensory deprivation enhances the ongoing activity of the visual system after sensory loss. Clinician should be aware that a significant proportion of visually impaired patients experience complex VHs, which are sometimes distressing. Herein, we report two cases of CBS. Case 1 is a 60-year-old man with visual impairment due to orbit pseudotumor in autoimmune hypothyroidism. Case 2 is an 87-year-old woman with Parkinson's disease and a 15-year history of intermittent complex VHs due to age-related macular degeneration in both eyes. In both cases investigations for alternative pathological causes of VHs were negative and, therefore, the aetiology of hallucinations was attributed to CBS. The course and treatment of CBS patients vary according to the nature of the visual dysfunction. Drug treatments remain partially satisfactory, with individual cases successfully treated with atypical antipsychotics. Nonpharmacological interventions aimed to reduce the visual pathway deprivation. Reassurance of the benign nature of CBS is essential to support patients and reduce caregiver's burden.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1180-1186
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neurology
Volume260
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013

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Keywords

  • Age related macular degenerations
  • Extrapyramidal syndromes
  • Eye diseases
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Visual loss
  • Visual pathway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology

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