by Neil Bauman, Ph.D.
A lady wrote:
Strange things are happening now with my eyesight. I used to get a head-size black spot in front of one eye. Recently I got a large white one. On Sunday, when I took a bath, it had changed suddenly to a real face. I opened and closed my eyes again and again, it did not disappear. I just laughed at it. What else could I do? I did not let it frighten me.
You have Charles Bonnet Syndrome. This is when you see things that are not there, especially when you have vision problems like you have. It is analogous to Musical Ear Syndrome—which is where you have hearing loss and hear things (music, voices) that are not there.
It’s nothing to be frightened about, especially once you know what is happening. Some people see the wall of their room disappear and be replaced by a field of sheep, or a children’s playground and the kids playing there.
Actually, a high proportion of elderly people with certain vision problems “see” such things, (around 30%) but seldom talk about them for fear of being thought crazy. (This is exactly the same as those who hear phantom music and don’t want to talk about their phantom sounds for fear of being thought crazy too!)
Some people even have both conditions at the same time.
I’ve written a book on Musical Ear Syndrome so people don’t have to needlessly worry about the phantom sounds they are hearing. In it there is even a chapter on Charles Bonnet Syndrome.
Learn more about Musical Ear Syndrome here, or get my book “Phantom Voices, Ethereal Music & Other Spooky Sounds” here.