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Charles Bonnet syndrome in Asian patients in a tertiary ophthalmic centre
  1. C S H Tan1,
  2. V S Y Lim2,
  3. D Y M Ho2,
  4. E Yeo2,
  5. B Y Ng3,
  6. K G Au Eong4
  1. 1The Eye Institute at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, National Healthcare Group, Singapore
  2. 2Faculty of Medicine, National University of Singapore
  3. 3Department of Behavioural Medicine, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore
  4. 4The Eye Institute at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, The Eye Institute at Alexandra Hospital, National Healthcare Group; Department of Ophthalmology, National University of Singapore; and Singapore Eye Research Institute, Singapore
  1. Correspondence to: Dr C S H Tan The Eye Institute at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, National Healthcare Group, Tan Tock Seng Hospital, 11 Jalan Tan Tock Seng, Singapore 308433, Singapore;


Aims: To describe the epidemiology of Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS) among patients in an Asian tertiary ophthalmic centre and to describe the characteristics of the hallucinations experienced.

Methods: 1077 consecutive patients aged 50 years and above were asked a standardised question to determine if they had ever experienced formed visual hallucinations. All patients who experienced these symptoms were further interviewed using a detailed, standardised questionnaire to ascertain if they met the diagnostic criteria established for CBS.

Results: There were 491 men (45.6%) and 586 women (54.4%). The best corrected visual acuity ranged from 20/20 to light perception in the better seeing eye and from 20/20 to no light perception in the worse seeing eye. Four patients (0.4%) were diagnosed with CBS; two men and two women. There were two Chinese and two Indians. The average age of the CBS patients was 76.3 years (range 65–90 years). Two patients had cataracts, one had glaucoma, and one had both cataracts and glaucoma. A wide variety of visual hallucinations were reported. Three out of four patients experienced a negative reaction to their hallucinations. Only one patient had discussed his symptoms with a doctor.

Conclusions: This is the first report on the epidemiology of CBS in Asian patients. The prevalence rate of CBS (0.4%) is slightly lower than in comparable studies in non-Asian populations. The nature of the hallucinations experienced were similar to those previously reported.

  • BCVA, best corrected visual acuity
  • CBS, Charles Bonnet syndrome

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  • The authors have not received any financial support for this study and have no financial or proprietary interests related to the contents of this manuscript.

  • Presented in part at the first SERI-ARVO (Singapore Eye Research Institute-Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology) Meeting on Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, 6–9 February 2003, Singapore.

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