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An overview of psychological and social factors in Charles Bonnet syndrome

Jones, L., Ditzel-Finn, L., Enoch, J. ORCID: 0000-0002-4614-6676 & Moosajee, M. (2021). An overview of psychological and social factors in Charles Bonnet syndrome. Therapeutic Advances in Ophthalmology, 13, article number 2515841421. doi: 10.1177/25158414211034715


Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS) is a condition where cognitively normal individuals with sight impairment experience simple and/or complex visual hallucinations. The exact pathogenesis of CBS is unknown; however, deafferentation is often recognised as a causal mechanism. Studies have provided insight into the multifaceted impact of CBS on wellbeing. Onset of CBS may cause distress among those believing visual hallucinations are indicative of a neurological condition. Hallucinatory content is often congruent with the emotional response. For example, hallucinations of a macabre nature typically result in a fearful response. Visual hallucinations may be highly disruptive, causing everyday tasks to become challenging. Clinical management relies on forewarning and pre-emptive questioning. Yet, knowledge and awareness of CBS is typically low. In this review, we provide a summary of the social and psychological implications of CBS and explore recent developments aimed at raising awareness and improving patient management.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License ( which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages ( This article has been published in Therapeutic Advances in Ophthalmology by Sage, doi:
Publisher Keywords: Charles Bonnet syndrome; patient experience; wellbeing
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
R Medicine > RE Ophthalmology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Optometry & Visual Sciences
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