Charles Bonnet Syndrome
At Retina Associates in Tucson, Arizona, Dr. Cameron Javid and his colleagues treat a variety of conditions related to retinal disease or damage. Retina Associates has treated many patients with age-related macular degeneration and other disorders that cause vision loss, a primary contributing factor in Charles Bonnet syndrome.
Charles Bonnet syndrome is a medical condition that causes recurring vivid hallucinations. It is present in up to 30 percent of patients with severe vision loss due to age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and other conditions of the eye. The hallucinations range from the complex to the everyday, but what they all have in common is that the patient recognizes them as illusions.
Both patients and health care providers must remember that Charles Bonnet syndrome is not a psychiatric disorder. It is generally thought to develop similarly to phantom limb pain, in that the brain continues to produce visual images in the absence of stimuli.
Recent research suggests that this may be more likely in patients with hyper-excitability in the visual cortex. Upon stimulating the peripheral vision, still intact in patients with macular degeneration, scientists found that those predisposed to Charles Bonnet hallucinations had more activity in the cortex compared to those without such hallucinations.
The most important thing is to be aware that although concerning it is not harmful and usually resolves with time.
Retina Associates is an ophthalmology practice located in Tucson, Arizona, where Dr. Cameron Javid and his fellow physicians provide surgical treatment for a wide range of eye conditions. The team at Retina Associates focuses on retinal tears and detachment, as well as diabetes-related eye disorders and tumors inside the eye.
Uveal melanoma is regarded as one of the deadliest eye diseases among adults. In the United States, about 2,000 individuals per year are diagnosed with it, Unfortunately, there hasn’t been enough research done to identify its exact cause or common risk factors. Overexposure to sunlight was once thought to be a major factor, but that has since been proven inaccurate. Smoking is considered a risk factor. Yet, there are proven obscure risk factors such as potential associations dysplastic nevus syndrome, and melanosis oculi. People with fair skin and light colored eyes are at risk.
The disease can occur within three areas of the eye: the iris, the ciliary body, and the choroid – and half of those patients will develop the fatal metastatic form of the disease within 10 to 15 years after diagnosis. The primary form of treatment is radiation therapy, which is given to roughly 80 percent of patients and is available in two forms: proton beam radiotherapy and plaque brachytherapy, the latter of which is the most common.
Those with larger tumors might require enucleation, which involves removing the eye and optic nerve while retaining the nearby orbital adnexal tissue and attaching a spherical orbital implant. A custom-made prosthesis replaces the implant 6-8 weeks after surgery.
Guided by Cameron Javid, MD, Retina Associates is a Tucson, Arizona practice that provides a full range of ophthalmologic treatments. Among the areas in which the Retina Associates team has extensive knowledge is the retina and choroid.
The eye’s vascular layer, the choroid is spongy and contains blood vessels and connective tissues that extend along the eye’s back wall. It has a vital role in providing the retina’s outer half with needed nutrients and oxygen.
One concern with the choroid is detachment, with blood or fluid pushing it away from its position flush against the sclera, the white of the eye. This detachment occasionally involves severe pain, and may cause achy eyes, or have no symptoms at all.
There are two major types of choroidal detachments, hemorrhagic (blood filled) and serous (fluid filled). Tied to high intraocular pressure, hemorrhagic choroidal detachments often involve a painful bursting of the choroidal blood vessel.
By contrast, serous choroidal detachments are related to low eye pressure and are rarely more than mildly uncomfortable. Treatment of this condition centers on the use of eye drops to dilate the pupil and reduce inflammation. Small postoperative choroidal detachments often heal on their own. Both conditions may require surgery.