Treating Charles Bonnet syndrome

There's currently no cure for Charles Bonnet syndrome.

Simply understanding that the hallucinations are a normal consequence of vision loss, rather than a mental health problem,can be very reassuring and help the person cope better.

No specific medication has been shown to stop hallucinations caused by Charles Bonnet syndrome. Some medications that are designed to treat epilepsy , Parkinson's disease and dementia have proved effective for some people.

However, thesepowerful medications can have serious side effects, and are therefore only recommended for people who are severely affected and under close supervision.

Self-help measures

You could try some self-help measures to help relieve your hallucinations when you experience them. For example, when a hallucination starts, you could:

  • change the lighting conditions to see if it disappears for example, if you're in a dimly lit area, switch on more lights or move to somewhere that's brighter; if in a brightly lit area, make it dimmer
  • move your eyes from left to right do this once every second 15 times without moving your head, then pause for a few seconds and repeat; it's worth trying this up to four or five times
  • stare at the image and blink rapidly or reach out to touch the vision try this for a few seconds
  • move around or perform a task for example, get up to make a cup of tea
  • make sure you're well rested and aregetting enough sleep at night the hallucinations may be worse when you're tired or stressed

Some people overcome their fear by getting to know the figures in their visions.

For example, one man with Charles Bonnet syndrome has described how when he wakes up in the morning, he says, "Right, what have you got in store for me today?"to the figures he's seeing. This allows him to have some control over the way he feels about his visions.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018