Visual Hallucinations and Sensory Delusions in the Elderly

G. E. Berrios and P. Brook, British Journal of Psychiatry, June 1984, 144, 662–664.

Abstract: One hundred and fifty successive referrals to a psychogeriatrician were assessed for visual hallucinations. Forty-four (29.33 per cent) patients reported visual perceptual disturbances. No differences between hallucinators and non-hallucinators were found in terms of sex, age, length of illness, underlying psychiatric diagnosis or cognitive score. There was a significant correlation between presence of hallucinations and eye pathology (less than .001) and delusions (less than .001). The phenomenological characteristics of the visual hallucinations are analyzed. The “picture” sign is described in 7 patients and the Charles Bonnet syndrome in two. The significance of these findings is discussed.