Infographic Text: Can Blind People Hallucinate?
Yes. Around 1 in 10 people with visual impairments develop something called Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS). The syndrome causes people to see temporary hallucinations. These visions may involve simple patterns or complex images of people.
These visions differ from psychotic hallucinations in 3 key ways.
- The individual knows the images aren’t real.
- The visions do not command, mock, or threaten the person.
- The hallucinations are purely visual. There is no sound, smell, or touch involved.
Research suggests Charles Bonnet syndrome occurs as a direct response to sensory deprivation. When the brain stops receiving visual data from the eyes, it may fill in the gaps with its own information.
Although these hallucinations aren’t dangerous, they may still cause a person irritation or confusion. A trained therapist can teach an individual how to cope with the visions.
- CBS treatments. (n.d.) Charles Bonnet Syndrome Foundation. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2QL4jSl
- Charles Bonnet syndrome. (n.d.) Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2zjvneO
- Charles Bonnet Syndrome. (n.d.) Royal National Institute of Blind People. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2zTusol
- Sacks, O. (2009). What hallucination reveals about our minds [Video file]. Retrieved from https://bit.ly/2EfrvS3
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