If an older person says they see people or objects that aren’t there, you might assume it’s another case of the elderly losing their mind.
Yet in about 10% to 40% of these cases, older patients with declining eyesight may actually be experiencing Charles Bonnet syndrome, reports a case study in the journal Age and Aging.
This condition doesn’t involve becoming mentally disabled at all. But rather it’s the brain’s way of making up for loss of vision.
One 67-year-old woman went to the hospital afraid of a frightening face she was seeing hovering before her, reports Live Science. The face was long like the shape of a football and had oversized features, such as big teeth, eyes and ears.
However, there was one important factor that clued doctors into the cause. According to a Live Science report, the woman realized the face wasn’t real.
Unlike other hallucinations among the mentally ill, the woman didn’t hear the face talking to her and she didn’t talk to it.
Rather than sending this woman to the mental ward, her doctor realized she was experiencing a type of visual hallucination.
There’s no cure for Charles Bonnet syndrome. However, many patients report that the hallucinations diminish over time as their minds get used to lessened vision.
It’s good to know that not everyone who “sees people” is going crazy.
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