• Why is my elderly friend hallucinating?


    Question:

    My 92-year-old friend has started to see colored flowers and a moving colored car that is not there. What is happening to her eyes or is it something to do with the brain? It's been on going now for the past four days.


    Answer:

    It is likely that your friend has a condition called Charles Bonnet syndrome, particularly if she has any degree of visual impairment (loss) in one or both eyes. This condition causes visual hallucinations quite typical of what your friend is "seeing." It is not associated with any worrisome neurologic conditions and is best handled by reassuring your friend that she is not suffering dementia. If, on the other hand, your friend has normal visual function in both eyes, then I would encourage evaluation by a neurologist.


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