Isolated visual hallucinations and the Charles Bonnet syndrome: a review of the literature and presentation of six cases

Compr Psychiatry. 1989 Jan-Feb;30(1):90-8. doi: 10.1016/0010-440x(89)90122-3.


Vivid visual hallucinations without other psychopathology have been reported for several hundred years. However, there is no consensus on whether these hallucinations should be considered a separate syndrome, the Charles Bonnet syndrome, or whether eye disease or brain disease is a necessary or exclusionary criterion for diagnosing this syndrome. In an attempt to resolve these issues, this article reviews the literature on isolated visual hallucinations and presents follow-up data from six cases. Criteria for diagnosing the Charles Bonnet syndrome are suggested.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology
  • Delusions / psychology
  • Female
  • Hallucinations / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pilocarpine / adverse effects
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Syndrome
  • Timolol / adverse effects
  • Vision Disorders / psychology*
  • Visual Perception*


  • Pilocarpine
  • Timolol