Vision problems are scary because so much of reality is based around sight. That's what makes Charles Bonnet Syndrome such a problematic condition. If you or someone you love is experiencing cataract or macular degeneration late in life, you need to understand this odd condition.

What Is Charles Bonnet Syndrome?

Charles Bonnet Syndrome is a vision-related condition tied in with macular degeneration. It is most common in people who start losing their vision later in life. Its connection with vision loss makes it a concern for those who are suffering from other vision problems, such as glaucoma or cataracts. It causes a wide range of vivid hallucinations.

Types Of Hallucinations You May Experience

People with Charles Bonnet Syndrome will experience a wide range of vivid hallucinations that may startle or even frighten them by their sudden appearance. Typical hallucinations caused by Charles Bonnet Syndrome include:

  • Specific and detailed visions, rather than vague images
  • Non-existent people entering a room
  • Disappearance of real objects
  • Exaggeration of an object's traits, such as an increase or decrease in size
  • Pleasant people dressed in weird costumes
  • Fantastic imagery, such as dragons or unicorns

Most of the images people with Charles Bonnet Syndrome experience are relatively benign and rarely threatening. Even the people dressed in wild costumes are friendly. However, the sudden appearance of these types of hallucinations can be unsettling.

How Cataracts Affect It

The connection between cataracts and Charles Bonnet Syndrome is best understood by examining how cataracts affect your overall vision. Cataracts have been shown to decrease your overall vision, and removing them helps you gain lost acuity for over a year.

However, the biggest contribution cataracts may play on Charles Bonnet Syndrome is in accelerating macular degeneration. As mentioned previously, Charles Bonnet Syndrome is primarily caused by this problem, especially in the early stages. And while study results have varied, many have found that cataracts can accelerate macular degeneration. This may cause an onset of Charles Bonnet Syndrome.

Adjusting To Life With Charles Bonnet Syndrome

If you or someone you love has developed Charles Bonnet Syndrome, the bad news is that there is currently no cure or even a medical treatment for this condition. However, it usually disappears after 12-18 months. Additionally, it is possible to learn to live with this condition by managing its symptoms utilizing the following techniques:

  • Discussing the hallucinations with loved ones
  • Treating anxiety and depression caused by hallucinations
  • Normalize the situation with humor about the episodes
  • Excitedly discuss the hallucinations as a form of great creativity

Charles Bonnet Syndrome and cataracts don't have to be life-changing concerns. By carefully monitoring your symptoms and visiting a vision specialist regularly, you can get through this condition as it slowly disappears. And if you suffer from cataracts, try to have them removed as soon as possible to help regain some vision acuity. Contact a company like Northwest Ophthalmology if you need to schedule cataract surgery.