Thread: charles Bonnet Syndrome Board: All Saints / Ship of Fools.

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Posted by SusanDoris (# 12618) on :
Ever since I had sight loss, I have had a pattern which shows up every now and again. It is the retina sending false messages to the brain. For the last two days, this Charles Bonnet syndrome has been working overtime - producing not only the overall blue pattern with diagonally reddish lines, but a whole range of other patterns, sparkling lines, etc as well. These patterns constantly move and change, leaving me every now and again. The range of colours and combinations of them and designs has never before been so varied and extraordinary.

I had an interesting conversation with someone at the RNIB who knows all about this recently, and it seems that any pattern, from the type I am seeing right at this moment, up to the full scenery that some sight loss people experience comes under the heading of the Charles Bonnet Syndrome.

I was just wondering whether anyone here knows anyone else who experiences this?

I think this is the right place for this question.
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
I am only partially sighted in my left eye. When the doctors were taking pictures of the retina in there I saw the most fantabulous colors. None of them real, of course -- they were generated by the lights and drugs and whatever exciting the nerves. I was sufficiently impressed that I painted what I saw (looking of course only through the right eye).
Posted by Anselmina (# 3032) on :
I have an acquaintance who says his Mum has Charles Bonnet syndrome, and she hallucinates very vividly. But not merely colours, also people and animals. Her condition may be particularly aggravated however by her medication, and potential UTIs!
Posted by SusanDoris (# 12618) on :
Brenda clough and Anselmina

thank you for your interesting replies. I wish I could paint the patterns I see too!!
It is interesting to hear about the syndrome of your acquaintance's mother, anselmina, and how it could well be affected by medication.
May I ask how much vision, if any, this lady has, that is if you know of course.
Posted by jedijudy (# 333) on :
SusanDoris, I think your very interesting thread will find more response in All Saints, so I'm sending it over there.

Hold onto your hats! [Smile]

Heaven Host

Posted by Bishops Finger (# 5430) on :
This is a new one on me, but then, I'm fortunate in (still) having reasonable sight.

I gather that some of the images and hallucinations resulting from CBS can be quite frightening - SusanDoris, I do hope that is not the case with you.

Posted by SusanDoris (# 12618) on :
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
This is a new one on me, but then, I'm fortunate in (still) having reasonable sight.

I gather that some of the images and hallucinations resulting from CBS can be quite frightening - SusanDoris, I do hope that is not the case with you.


Thank you for saying. No, fortunately, not frightening, just very annoying because the designs tend to block out for instance the computer screen. As I use Synthetic Dave to read me what's on the screen, it doesn't impede me much. It has eased off a bit yesterday and today, but just now there was a large oval on the left .which is like a set of small rectangular windows which shimmer behind their black framework. In the foreground are several multi-coloured, overall impression light purply upright odd long shapes, sometimes turning themselves into sort of spindly fingers with red nails!!! These are not shimmering, just constantly altering in shape.
It will go away for months at a time and then last for a few days. It is, though, never continuous. there are always breaks inbetween.
And I think to myself, what a waste of my brain's time concocting all these pictures...!!!
Posted by Lucia (# 15201) on :
I am not visually impaired but I work with those who are and sometime people do describe various visual hallucinations, which as said above can be very vivid in some cases. Often what people need is reassurance that this is a known phenomenon in people with sight loss, that it has a name and that they are not going crazy! I've had a number of people confide that they were afraid to tell anyone about what they are seeing, especially their family members in case they think that they are starting dementia or something like that. Reassurance and information about Charles Bonnet Syndrome is very important for these people.
Posted by Brenda Clough (# 18061) on :
That was why I executed these 3 paintings, which look like not-very-good abstracts. I showed them to my retinologist, who was utterly bemused that a patient would address an issue with paint and brush.
Posted by Ultracrepidarian (# 9679) on :
I don't have any direct experience with it, but there's an excellent chapter on Charles Bonnet syndrome in "Disturbances of the Mind", a great book with a misleading title. The book is about various neurological conditions, mental conditions, parts of the brain, syndromes, etc. that are named after people, and who those people were. Because of the author's own experience with knowing people who had Bonnet syndrome, he opens with a chapter on it and on who Bonnet was (a doctor whose father had the condition, IIRC).

It's a fascinating book for these personal connections. Apart from the chapter on Bonnet, the particularly memorable chapters for me were the one on Parkinson, and the one on the big debates surrounding Broca's area.
Posted by SusanDoris (# 12618) on :
That souns like an interesting book. I'l see if the RNIB have an audio copy, or maybe an extract. It is a while since I read the Wikipedia entry... ... so I have just had a look at a couple of links.

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