Rinsho Shinkeigaku (Clinical Neurology)

Case Report

A case of Charles Bonnet syndrome following syphilitic optic neuritis

Hidenori Ogata, M.D., Hiroshi Shigeto, M.D., Ph.D., Takako Torii, M.D., Ph.D., Nobutoshi Kawamura, M.D., Ph.D., Yasumasa Ohyagi, M.D., Ph.D. and Jun-ichi Kira, M.D., Ph.D.

Department of Neurology, Neurological Institute, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University

Charles Bonnet syndrome refers to visual hallucinations in patients with visual acuity loss or visual field loss without dementia. We report a case of Charles Bonnet syndrome following syphilitic optic neuritis. A 62-year-old man was admitted to our hospital suffering acute bilateral visual loss in a few months. On admission, he was almost blind and his optic discs were found to be atrophic on fundoscopy. In addition to increased cell counts and protein concentration in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), serum and CSF rapid plasma reagin tests were positive. A diagnosis of syphilitic optic neuritis was made and he was treated with intravenous penicillin G (24 million units per day for 14 days) without any recovery. After treatment finished, he began to experience complex, vivid, elaborate and colored visual hallucinations. He recognized these visions as unreal and felt distressed by them. No cognitive impairment was observed on several neuropsychological tests. We diagnosed the patient as suffering from Charles Bonnet syndrome. Brain MRI revealed diffuse mild atrophy of the cerebral cortex and multiple T2 high signal intensity lesions in the deep cerebral white matter. Single photon emission computed tomography revealed decreased regional cerebral blood flow in bilateral medial occipital lobes. Administration of olanzapine resulted in a partial remission of visual hallucinations. Charles Bonnet syndrome following syphilitic optic neuritis is rare. In the present case, visual loss and dysfunction of bilateral medial occipital lobes may have triggered the visual hallucinations, which were alleviated by olanzapine.
Full Text of this Article in Japanese PDF (445K)

(CLINICA NEUROL, 51: 595|598, 2011)
key words: Syphilic optic neuritis, Charles Bonnet syndrome, occipital lobe, olanzapine, single photon emission computed tomography

(Received: 12-Apr-11)