Charles Bonnet Awareness Day

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Today is the first ever Charles Bonnet Awareness Day. Have you heard of Charles Bonnet Syndrome which is often referred to as CBS?

Charles Bonnet syndrome is a term used to describe the situation when people with sight problems start to see things, which they know aren't real. Sometimes called 'visual hallucinations', the things people see can take all kinds of forms from simple patterns of straight lines to detailed pictures of people or buildings.

Charles Bonnet syndrome affects people with serious sight loss and usually only people who have lost their sight later in life but can affect people of any age, usually appearing after a period of worsening sight.

There is some research, which shows that, when we see, the information from the eyes actually stops the brain from creating its own pictures. When people lose their sight, their brains are not receiving as many pictures as they used to, and sometimes, new fantasy pictures or old pictures stored in our brains are released and experienced as though they were seen. These experiences seem to happen when there is not much going on, for example when people are sitting alone, somewhere quiet which is familiar to them or when they are in lying in bed at night.

(Reference taken from NHS patient factsheet)

Visual hallucinations, which are vivid and silent, can be experienced as part of sight loss and are caused by Charles Bonnet Syndrome.

If this is happening to you, or someone you know, please contact Esme’s Umbrella - a registered charity which supports people with Charles Bonnet syndrome .


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