The Charles Bonnet syndrome: a large prospective study in The Netherlands. A study of the prevalence of the Charles Bonnet syndrome and associated factors in 500 patients attending the University Department of Ophthalmology at Nijmegen

Br J Psychiatry. 1995 Feb;166(2):254-7. doi: 10.1192/bjp.166.2.254.


Background: The aims were to determine the prevalence of the Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS) in low-vision patients and analyse possible associated ophthalmic and sociodemographic factors.

Method: A semi-structured interview on visual hallucinations was given to 300 adult low-vision patients and 200 elderly general ophthalmic patients. Positive cases were examined with the Geriatric Mental State Schedule and the Mini Mental State Examination. Diagnostic criteria were as follows: complex, persistent, or repetitive visual hallucinations; full or partial retention of insight; no hallucinations in other modalities; and no delusions. Ophthalmic and sociodemographic data were gathered for all patients.

Results: The prevalence of CBS in low-vision patients was 11%. CBS was significantly associated with an age over 64 years and a visual acuity in the best eye of 0.3 or less. No significant associations with ophthalmic diagnoses, patient sex, marital status, or social circumstances were found.

Conclusion: Our findings support association of CBS with sensory deprivation and advanced age.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Hallucinations / complications
  • Hallucinations / epidemiology*
  • Hallucinations / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensory Deprivation
  • Syndrome
  • Vision Disorders / complications
  • Vision, Binocular
  • Visual Acuity