Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS) is a disease in which visual hallucinations occur as a result of vision loss. CBS is not thought to be related to psychosis or dementia, and people with CBS are usually aware that their hallucinations are not real. While up to 38% of people with vision loss are estimated to experience hallucinations, the incidence may be higher due to underreporting, making CBS a widespread disease. In some cases, the hallucinations go away or become less frequent as the brain adapts to the loss of vision.
The primary symptoms of Charles Bonnet syndrome include significant vision loss (usually but not always), visual hallucinations, no control over the hallucinations, and a realization that the hallucinations are not real. Research suggests that many people with Charles Bonnet syndrome do not consult their doctors for fear of being diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder, such as dementia.
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