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18 by Lili g. Kaplan MD Lawrence J. Singerman MD Retina Associates of Cleveland What is Charles Bonnet Syndrome I see things that are not there I see faces and people who do not exist. I am embarrassed to tell my children because they will think that I am crazy. My mind is still sharp but I am scared and worried. This started when I lost my vision due to macular degeneration Clara stated in anguish. Clara suffers from Charles Bonnet Syndrome a relatively common condition in which people who have decreased vision see complex vivid repetitive images that are not real. This occurs in people who have central vision loss from eye conditions such as macular degeneration diabetes and glaucoma. The hallucinations in Charles Bonnet Syndrome are not due to psychiatric conditions and are not due to Alzheimers disease. People are often afraid to discuss the hallucinations with family and doctors and therefore do not get the help that they need. Charles Bonnet Syndrome was first described by and is named after an 18th-century Swiss philosopher who wrote about his grandfather who had visions after he became blind from cataracts. He saw men women buildings artwork and animals that did not exist. In Charles Bonnet Syndrome people can see a variety of images including colored patterns people cartoons animals or trees. Sometimes the visions are in black and white and sometimes they are in color. Some people see simple repeating patterns while others see complicated images such as landscapes faces or animals. The images might be life-size or smaller or larger than life-size. They can last a few minutes or for several hours. The visual hallucinations seen in Charles Bonnet Syndrome do not involve other senses such as smell hearing and taste. People understand that what they see is not real. Macula Vision Research Foundation SpringSummer 2015