Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS) – resources for aged care service providers

Charles Bonnet Syndrome (CBS, also known as Phantom Vision Syndrome) is the experience of phantom visions in people living with some form of acquired vision loss who are otherwise of sound mind.

13 Dec 2019

These silent, phantom images co-exist with one's usual visual experience, and occur as a peculiar side effect in up to 40% of all those with acquired vision loss such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy and even stroke.

Vivid, elaborate and recurrent visual hallucinations are a characteristic of CBS, with the range of images experienced varying from geometric patterns, faces, people in old-fashioned clothing, flowers, buildings, even complete landscapes.

The person quickly realises that their eyes are ‘playing tricks on them’, but often the images appear clearer than their usual vision experience and as a result people are quite shaken by seeing things that are not, or cannot, be real.

As a result, those who experience CBS symptoms can be terrified they are losing their mind, and consequently many suffer in silence, sometimes for months or even years out of fear they will be ridiculed or referred to a psychiatric service.

The Charles Bonnet Syndrome Foundation has provided ACSA with a range of information and resources on this little-known condition, to assist our members in supporting clients and residents experiencing this condition. These are available for download below.

For more information or advice you can contact the CBS National Helpline: 1300 121 123 or visit their website


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