Charles Bonnet Syndrome — Visual Hallucinations

Morrison Ellis
Nov 18, 2014 · 2 min read

About 8 years ago now my father collapsed and slipped into a coma. He had contracted bacterial meningitis and the outlook was almost certainly death or serious mental/physical disability. I am pleased to say he survived, and although left totally blind and with severe deafness his continues to amaze and inspire us all with his courage and determination.

It was during the early stages of his rehabilitation that he began to ‘see’ strange, surreal images, and although he knew that they were not there he was haunted by them, so much so they affected his confidence and ultimately his recuperation.

The images ranged from the Victorian children dolls, cat heads and dragons all getting larger and larger in front of him. Whilst sat in his wheelchair he would describe the view in front of him as like sitting on the edge of a cliff looking over a huge precipice. The only way of calming the images was to move him from room to room but after a short while, this had no remedial affect and the images continued to get more and more gruesome.

Many thought he was losing his mind but a quick thinking nurse pointed out that he may be experiencing something which many people who have an acquired sightloss go through. A condition known as Charles Bonnet Syndrome, named after an 18th century Swiss scientist and philosopher who first described it.

When my father became ill not many people had heard of Charles Bonnet but now thanks to charities like the Macular Society it is getting more awareness.

An artist before going blind, my father now tries to make sense of these ‘interesting’ visions through his artwork. You can see the full range of his work since losing his sight at

One of my father’s drawings since losing his sight. “The Smokers” by Arthur Ellis 2006

You can also like his Facebook page below to see his latest artwork and how he produces it:

    Morrison Ellis

    Written by

    Audiobook Producer and Accessible Media Consultant

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