Proportion of people with visual hallucinations visiting low vision clinic Mayo Hospital Lahore.

Najwa Masood, Muhammad Anwar Awan


PURPOSE: To find out the proportion of people with visual hallucinations (the sensory perception that is perceived by a person without any external stimulation factor and is unrestrained by the person who experiences it) among low vision patients and to give the description of clinical characteristics of complex visual hallucinations.

METHOD: Forty consecutive patients visiting Low Vision Clinic Mayo Hospital, Lahore with age ranged from 40 to 70 years were asked whether they had gone through any experience of complex visual hallucinations. If their response was positive then some questions from a standard questionnaire were asked to find out the details of the symptoms associated with Charles Bonnet Syndrome. It was a cross-sectional study. Prior approval was sought from the ethical review board of College of Ophthalmology and Allied Vision Sciences to conduct this study.

RESULTS: Out of the total 40 patients 21 (52.5%) were male and 19 (47.5%) were female. The average age of the participating population was 65 years. Most of the patients with age above 60 years experienced visual hallucinations with the best corrected visual acuity of less than 0.5 log MAR. 18% of the population was diagnosed with glaucoma, 10% with retinitis pigmentosa, 8% with age-related macular degeneration and 4% of the population had a dense cataract. Out of the total population, 92.5% of participants were living with their families and had hallucinations. 57% of the population showed unpleasant reaction towards these hallucinations and only 14% of the population has discussed their symptoms with their doctor.

CONCLUSION: Charles Bonnet syndrome is more common among the elderly population who suffer from visual impairment because of any ocular cause. The incidence rate of this syndrome is higher in males compared to females. Living status does not have any impact on the incidence of this syndrome. Clinical characteristics of hallucinations experienced by patients were similar to those explained in previous literature data.

KEYWORDS: Visual hallucinations, Charles Bonnet Syndrome, Low vision.

Full Text: