Visual Hallucinations in Eye Disease and Lewy Body Disease

Urwyler, Prabitha; Nef, Tobias; Müri, René Martin; Archibald, Neil; Makin, Selina Margaret; Collerton, Daniel; Taylor, John-Paul; Burn, David; McKeith, Ian; Mosimann, Urs Peter (2016). Visual Hallucinations in Eye Disease and Lewy Body Disease. American journal of geriatric psychiatry, 24(5), pp. 350-358. Elsevier 10.1016/j.jagp.2015.10.007

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Objective: Visual hallucinations (VH) most commonly occur in eye disease (ED), Parkinson’s disease (PD), and Lewy body dementia (LBD). The phenomenology of VH is likely to carry important information about the brain areas within the visual system generating them. Methods: Data from five controlled cross-sectional VH studies (164 controls, 135 ED, 156 PD, 79 (PDD 48 + DLB 31) LBD) were combined and analysed. The prevalence, phenomenology, frequency, duration, and contents of VH were compared across diseases and gender. Results: Simple VH were most common in ED patients (ED 65% vs. LBD 22% vs. PD 9%, Chi-square [χ2] test: χ2=31.43, df=2, p<0.001), whilst complex VH were more common in LBD (LBD 76% vs. ED 38%, vs PD 28%, Chi-square test: χ2=96.80, df=2, p<0.001). The phenomenology of complex VH was different across diseases and gender. ED patients reported more “flowers” (ED 21% vs. LBD 6% vs. PD 0%, Chi-square test: χ2=10.04, df=2, p=0.005) and “body parts” (ED 40% vs. LBD 17% vs. PD 13%, Chi-square test: χ2=11.14, df=2, p=0.004); in contrast LBD patients reported “people” (LBD 85% vs. ED 67% vs. PD 63%, Chi-square test: χ2=6.20, df=2, p=0.045) and “animals/insects” (LBD 50% vs. PD 42% vs. ED 21%, Chi-square test: χ2=9.76, df=2, p=0.008). Males reported more “machines” (13 % vs. 2%, Chi-square test: χ2=6.94, df=1, p=0.008), whilst females reported more “family members/children” (48% vs. 29%, Chi-square test: χ2=5.10, df=1, p=0.024). Conclusions: The phenomenology of VH is likely related to disease specific dysfunctions within the visual system and to past, personal experiences.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Geriatric Psychiatry and Psychotherapy
10 Strategic Research Centers > ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research > ARTORG Center - Gerontechnology and Rehabilitation
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > DCR Unit Sahli Building > Forschungsgruppe Neurologie

UniBE Contributor:

Urwyler-Harischandra, Prabitha; Nef, Tobias; Müri, René Martin and Mosimann, Urs Peter


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health








Prabitha Urwyler-Harischandra

Date Deposited:

16 Dec 2015 07:57

Last Modified:

25 Jan 2017 11:16

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