For about a third of people, Charles Bonnet syndrome is experienced as unpleasant and stressful. This outcome was recently shared by medical researchers in Portugal (Leandro et al, 2020) and mirrors an identical finding in an English study some six years prior (Cox & ffytche, 2014). It emerged from these studies that such CBS-affected people often feel they have little or no control over what is happening to them. 

For the unfortunate one in three, the Bonnet images can:

  • have a disturbing quality to them (eg. ugly or distorted faces)
  • be very intrusive (eg. non-stop for hours)
  • be disorienting (eg. risk of falls)
  • interrupt one's ability to sleep
  • further rob the person of their little remaining sight
  • make everyday tasks more difficult
  • add to the person's sense of isolation
  • lead to depression and anxiety


CBS is often portrayed as pleasant but a third find the syndrome to be horrid and wish to be rid of it.