Due to poor air quality related to fires in California, the Academy’s San Francisco offices will be closed Friday, Nov. 16. Member support staff will not be available by phone and responses to emails may be delayed.

  • How Is Charles Bonnet Syndrome Treated?

    Written By: Daniel Porter
    Reviewed By: G Atma Vemulakonda, MD
    May. 16, 2018

    There is no cure or effective medical treatment for CBS, but there are some techniques that can help you cope and manage the condition.

    Talk about your hallucinations

    Whether you talk to your therapist, your doctor, a friend or a family member, describing your hallucinations to someone can make you feel less isolated. A CBS support group is also a great source of tips/coping strategies and a safe space to talk about your own experience with CBS. Also, simply reminding yourself or your loved one that the hallucinations are caused by vision loss and not the result of a mental health problem can be reassuring.

    Change your environment

    Do your hallucinations happen more often in dim lighting or in brightly lit rooms? If so, changing the lighting conditions may help reduce your hallucinations. For example, if they happen in dim light, turn on more lights or open the curtains. If you see the hallucinations when it’s very quiet, turning on a TV or radio may help.

    Use your eyes

    Some have found using the following techniques as the hallucinations begin can help stop them:

    • Move your eyes up-or-down or side-to-side (without moving your head)
    • Look away from the hallucinations
    • Stare at the hallucinations
    • Close your eyes and then open them

    Rest and relaxation

    Some people say fatigue and stress make their CBS worse. Be sure to get plenty of sleep and reduce anxiety with exercise, meditation or whatever you find helpful.

    Seeing visual hallucinations can be upsetting—especially after losing your vision from another disease. But it's helpful to know that most people with CBS don't have scary or threatening hallucinations. Over time, the more you see the hallucinations, the more you will learn to manage them. In most cases, the hallucinations slow down considerably or stop after 1 to 2 years.