Visual Snow Guide | Everything You Wanted to Know About Visual Snow

Everything You Wanted to Know About Visual Snow 

“I first became aware of seeing visual snow around 10-11 years of age (I’m now 47, and it’s never gone away). As far as I know, I’ve always seen visual snow (although for decades, I didn’t know that it had an actual name). In fact, when I say that I became aware of it at the age of 10-11, what I mean is that I learned then that other people don’t see it. Previously, I had thought that everybody experienced this.

The snow appears superimposed over the whole extent of my visual field, and it does look very much like the noise that you see on a TV screen between channels. It is most noticeable over solid surfaces than over textured ones, and I can’t say that its presence bothers me. I usually don’t even notice it unless I’m paying attention to it, and I can go for days or weeks at a time without thinking about it.”

Visual Snow Patient, Susana Martinez-Conde, PhD
Professor of Ophthalmology, Neurology, and Physiology & Pharmacology
Empire Innovator Scholar
Director, Laboratory of Integrative Neuroscience
State University of New York (SUNY)

Visual snow is a condition that is considered to be relatively rare, but obtaining exact statistics is not easy because many patients don’t realize they have it or don’t realize that it is not normal. Over the years patients have faced many challenges. It was not regarded as a “real” condition by many doctors. Visual snow patients were often treated similar to those with chronic pain and conditions like fibromyalgia. Many times they were told that it was “all in their head” or the result of past or present illicit drug use.

Times are changing though as patients are calling more attention to their VS and researchers are paying attention. The American Academy of Neurology is taking steps to formally recognize it as a condition or syndrome and put it on the map.

What is Visual Snow?

Visual Snow over the Cityscape

Visual snow (VS) is a condition characterized by a disruption in a person’s visual field, usually tiny white and black dots that resemble a television screen with poor reception. Other symptoms that may present visually include photophobia, prolonged afterimages, color swirls, trailing, bright flashes, poor night vision, and floaters. Sometimes the dots are colored and change color very rapidly. While it is not associated with a visual aura that can accompany migraine, many patients who have VS also have migraines. Many people who have a history of drug use, primarily hallucinogenic, have the condition.

The clinical term for visual snow is aeropsia but it may also be referred to as “visual static” or “positive persistent visual disturbance.” It tends to be somewhat unique to each patient although most of the symptoms are widely similar. However, each patient describes their condition with some minute differences that seem to make it unique to them. The visual disturbance can be either persistent, meaning it is always present, or transitory, meaning it is somewhat intermittent. It can also cover the entire visual field or only part.

The condition is often visible in all light conditions, although it is more noticeable under certain light and against backgrounds that are darker. Dim lighting can exacerbate it as can darkness. Some patients report it being particularly bothersome when they are trying to read.

Visual snow is medically determined to be a unique syndrome and is believed to be quite rare. However, doctors disagree about its frequency but do believe that many instances go unreported. This can be due to the patient being unaware that what they are experiencing is abnormal or simply because it doesn’t bother them all that much.

Types of Visual Snow

There are two main types of visual snow: pulse type and broadband. Each refers to how the visual field is disrupted; what the patient sees.

Types of Visual Snow - Pulse vs Broadband

Pulse Type – In this type of visual snow there are dots are uniform in size and are scattered across the visual field. It is described as being similar to drops of water on a car’s windshield during light rain. The dots may be lighter or darker than the dominant or overall color of the scene the patient is viewing. They may also seem to swirl or flicker.

Broadband – In this type of visual snow, there is a fuzzy or snowy appearance over the visual field like a television that gets
poor reception or is turned to an out of service channel. The fuzz or noise may be darker or lighter than the overall color of the scene but it does somewhat obscure the vision. The dots can vary in size.

There are several sub-types or additional visual symptoms of VS. They are consistently found in about a third of patients who have the condition.

  • Nyctalopia (impaired night vision)
  • Palinopsia (after images, trailing)
  • Photophobia (sensitivity to light)
  • Entoptic phenomena (self light of the eye, spontaneous photopsia, blue field entoptic phenomenon, floaters)

Headache and migraine are commonly associated with visual snow, particularly when it is beginning or when it worsens. In one study, 59% of the subjects who had the condition also had migraines.

Causes of Visual Snow

Doctors do not know what causes visual snow, but many believe that thalamocortical dysrhythmia is a significant contributor. Thalamocortical dysrhythmia is a disruption of neural activity between the thalamus and other areas of the brain’s cortex. There are also some medical conditions of which VS can be a symptom. The most common include migraine or persistent migraine aura (PMA), hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD), and optic neuritis as a symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS). Excessive use of a computer or smartphone has been linked to the condition as well. Some research also suggests that visual snow is hereditary.

Visual Snow and the Thalmus

There are a number of health issues, both physical and mental, that seem to be comorbidities of VS. There is some speculation among researchers that there is a link, whether the visual snow led to some of them or it is a symptom of the condition. Some of the most common comorbid conditions to visual snow include:

  • PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep deprivation (insomnia, fatigue)
  • Lyme disease
  • Auto Immune disease

Post hallucinogen perceptual disorder (PHPD), also known as “flashbacks” stemming from drug use (hallucinogenic drugs like lysergic acid diethylamide – LSD) has long been thought to be and primary, if not only, cause of visual snow. While the condition can occur in connection with drug use, sometimes long after the patient has stopped using drugs, researchers are finding that it can occur when the patient has never used any drugs.

Other Accompanying Symptoms

Migraine, with or without aura, is one of the most common symptoms accompanying visual snow. Migraine without aura seems to more often accompany the condition than migraine with aura. There are other symptoms that patients report that seem to be symptoms directly related to VS. Not all patients experience the same symptoms and some patients do not experience any other symptoms at all besides the visual disruption.

Common symptoms accompanying visual snow include:

  • Headache
  • Ear pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Tingling
  • Vertigo
  • Tinnitus
  • Concentration problems
  • Head pressure
  • “Dimmed” vision
  • Numbness
  • Depersonalization

Various treatments, both natural and pharmaceutical, can be used to manage or decrease the symptoms. Sometimes, easing the symptoms can ease the effect of the visual snow. However, getting a diagnosis can be difficult, especially if the accompanying symptoms get more attention than the visual disturbance.

Getting a Diagnosis

Getting a Visual Snow Diagnosis

Getting a firm diagnosis of visual snow is difficult. Underlying causes, comorbidities, and overwhelming accompanying symptoms can overshadow the actual condition and it can be missed. There are also other unrelated conditions that can be confused with visual snow syndrome.

While optometrists, neurologists, and general practitioners can diagnose visual snow, a neurologist is often more likely to identify and diagnose the condition. In order to obtain the initial diagnosis the patient must meet four key criteria:

  • Have continuous, dynamic, dots in the vision field
  • Must exhibit at least one additional symptom:
    • Photophobia
    • Palinopsia (after images and visual trailing)
    • Tinnitus (buzzing or ringing in the ears)
    • Enhanced entoptic phenomena (blue field entoptic phenomenon, floaters, self light of the eye, photopsia)
    • Impaired night vision
  • Symptoms are not associated with standard migraine aura
  • Symptoms are not associated with another medical condition or disorder such as drug abuse, MS, ophthalmological, or others.

Common Linked Conditions

There are several medical conditions that are commonly linked to visual snow. These conditions may be comorbid with VS or the condition may be a symptom. These conditions are:      

  • Persistent migraine aura (PMA) – A migraine aura is a disturbance that can precede a migraine or accompany it. Often these auras are visual and the patient may experience flashes of light, flares, or other vision disruptions. A typical migraine aura is relatively short, lasting a few minutes to an hour. However, in a PMA the aura can last for days, even extending beyond a week.
  • Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) – With this disorder the patient experiences sensory disturbances, often visual, that are the result of the patient using hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD even in cases where they have not taken the drug for years. This condition is often referred to as “flashbacks.”
  • Optic neuritis from Multiple Sclerosis (MS) – This condition occurs when the optic nerve becomes inflamed and loses the myelin (coating that protects the nerve). As a result, the unprotected nerve does not work as it should and it cannot send the right messages to the brain. This can lead to visual disturbances such as visual snow.
  • Brain Injury (BI) – A brain injury or head injury can occur when the patient’s head is jerked or jostled, or they suffer a blow to the head. Depending on the location and severity of the injury, the patient may experience visual disturbances as a result.

Effects of Visual Snow

Many patients who live with visual snow don’t experience much of an impact in their lives due to the condition. Often they have had the condition since childhood and to them it is normal. They have created adapting strategies that allow them to compensate for the impaired vision and they can carry on their daily lives with few disruptions. However, some patients experience significant problems as the condition impairs their vision and creates incredible stress. In those cases, doctors and patients alike consider visual snow to be a debilitating condition.

A patient with VS may experience impaired vision and this alone can be stressful. When they have to manage it every day, many patients can become depressed or anxious about it. They may experience sensitivity to light, sometimes severe, and night blindness. These difficulties can lead the patient to become socially withdrawn and isolated which does not help if they are experiencing depression.

This powerful video show’s how one woman perceives her struggle with visual snow.

Treatments for Visual Snow

There are very few treatments for visual snow. In most cases, treatment depends on the underlying condition or associated condition if there is one. There is no single treatment that works for all or even most patients with VS. Often, once the doctor diagnoses the condition he or she will have to work with the patient, trying various treatment methods until they find something that works. Most VS treatment options are theoretical and not proven through extensive clinical testing, yet many patients attest to their effectiveness.

Some of the more common treatments include:

Vision rehab – This is a term that applies to several strategies including visual adaptation and visual habituation which have been found very useful in treating patients who have visual vertigo. While it is not yet proven to provide relief for VS, it is a theory that some doctors feel is worth pursuing.

Medication – Medication is usually administered to treat the cause of visual snow when there is an underlying condition. In some studies, medications such as propranolol and lamotrigine have provided some relief.

Diet – Diet can be key in a variety of health conditions and those involving the eyes and brain are no different. Visual snow can result from a patient’s reaction to dietary issues, particularly sensitivities to preservatives in foods. The first steps a patient can take in getting better is to modify their diet to avoid processed foods.

Precision Tinted Glasses – Precision tinted glasses, or migraine glasses, have helped many people find relief. While they are not a recognized treatment method for visual snow, many patients claim that their migraine glasses made all the difference. Migraine sufferers and use these glasses while similar glasses are used by patients with Irlen Syndrome and light sensitivity.

How to Help Someone Suffering from Visual Snow

If you have a friend or family member who suffers from visual snow, then you probably know the difficulties that they have on a daily basis. The best way to help someone with this condition is to educate yourself. Find out what visual snow it and how it specifically affects that person. Learn about what makes it worse and what lessens the symptoms. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to better understand how you can help the person.

Keep in mind that the patient cannot control their condition and they likely cannot control any underlying or additional symptoms that they may have. Try to be understanding and sensitive to the fact that they may experience anxiety and depression as a result of the condition.

If you are an employer and you have an employee who has visual snow, education is where you need to start. Ask the patient how their VS affects them and how it affects their work. Ask them if they require any reasonable accommodations to make their work environment more comfortable and more productive. Understand that there are many conditions that accompany visual snow, including anxiety, panic attacks, migraines, and other health issues.

What patients experience when they have visual snow is as real and valid as other health conditions. They deal with symptoms as well as a sense of being different and sometimes failing to fit in with their peer groups. Any disability can be isolating and VS is no different, especially when it is severe. Patience and a desire to understand will help patients relax and help them fit in and experience the world in a much more pleasant way.

If you have Visual Snow

Living With Visual Snow Infographic

If you have visual snow syndrome or think you do, you can get relief. Talk to your doctor or healthcare professional about the various therapies and treatments that are available for your specific situation. Doctors and researchers are making progress every day in treating patients with VS, whether it is a condition on its own or the symptom of an underlying condition. Most of all, take care of yourself. When you are dealing with any health issue the first step to getting better is self care. Make sure that you eat healthy, exercise regularly, stay hydrated, and get plenty of sleep.

Many visual snow patients find comfort and support in a number of online groups and forums.

If you have this condition you may enjoy connecting with other visual snow patients on these sites:

Awareness for Visual Snow (Facebook Page)

Visual Snow Forum

Those with Visual Snow (Yuku)

Visual Snow Disease Maps

What’s Ahead for Visual Snow Patients?

There could be great things ahead for visual snow patients as new research is looking into treatments and cures for the condition. The Eye on Vision Foundation (EOVF) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is devoted to finding a cure for visual snow and related conditions. The EOVF founder, Jennifer Ambrose, is a sufferer of VS and it has had a significant impact on her life. She has had it since childhood, but the symptoms increased in intensity in 2005 to the point that it affected her quality of life. Her symptoms have calmed some since 2014, but she is still very much affected. She hopes that the research funded by her foundation will open new doors to help and relief for visual snow patients. Most of all, she is looking for a cure.

Two neurologists have been collaborating with EOVF to find a treatment for visual snow. Dr. Peter J. Goadsby and Dr. Christoph J. Schankin conducted the first visual snow study, publishing the results in May 2014. They believe that this study helped them identify the area of the brain where VS originates. Dr. Schankin led a German visual snow study in 2015 – 2016. They, along with other researchers, are planning more research to better understand and find treatment for this condition. The hope is that one day there will be a cure and that people suffering from visual snow will get relief and have the chance to live a better quality life.

Hope is on the horizon.

Distressed by Light - Ad for Axon Optics


61 thoughts on “Visual Snow Guide

  1. India Taylor says:

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I have lived with this for decades and tried to tell doctors about it and been dismissed. Are used to say it was like it was misting outside. I’m actually close to tears finding out that I wasn’t fabricating this in some way because I was made to feel that way. It’s an amazing feeling to be vidicated.

    • Nov says:

      India Taylor , Vision Snow is no laughing matter. But I had the chuckles when I read that you thought it was like misting outside. In the early days of my VS, I would look outside and believe it was raining a fine pour. I insisted it was raining, saying to my family, can’t you see the rain? I had no clue that I was the only one seeing this. I have chronic Lyme Disease, Babesiosis, and Bartonella. Besides the tick-borne diseases, I have MSIDS(Multiple Systemic Infectious Disease Syndrome. ) Looks like you and I will never be successful Meteorologists. I wish you well…….

      • Virginia says:

        I’m so sorry to hear that! While we can’t help with many of the symptoms you’ve experienced, our lens might help with the light sensitivity component of your condition.

  2. Patrick Hudnall says:

    Going into my third month. I though I was seeing red blood cells in black and white, in my field of vision. Now it would seem I have Pulse Type Black Visual Snow. I had cataract surgery so my Opthamologist could perform a better exam. She saw nothing but normal strand type floaters. My dots only appear in bright light. Thank God. However also appear on my computer monitor. Is there any hope???

    • Virginia says:

      Hi Patrick, I’m sorry to hear that you suffer from this condition. I’m not sure if there is a treatment for Pulse Type Black Visual Snow. You might contact your neuro-ophthalmologist, or one of the Visual Snow support groups. Our lenses provide relief for some people with this condition. You’re welcome to email us anytime.

  3. Nikki says:

    I have had this for a long, long time. Starting in my teens and roughly around the time my first persistent migraine aura cropped up. But I never had migraines with headaches until I was 20 so had no clue what either were until I was diagnosed with migraine with aura, then the visual snow and persistent migraine auras. Mine is the broadband type. Always there, worse in certain lights or from lack of sleep. I wear the tinted Axon specs mostly due to extreme photosensitivity, migraine or not. I haven’t paid much attention to see if it helps with the snow… I do not like to dwell on the snow. If you pay attention to it, you just can’t stop seeing it. Although it can be very warpy a field… and distort things you are ‘seeing through it’.

    • Jodie Fitzgerald says:

      This is very validating to read. It’s something I’ve always kind of had since a teen, but it’s been particularly hard to ignore in the last 6 months. Mine is much like your’s; always there but worse in bright lights and when overtired/stressed, and I barely realize it is there at other times. True enough when you worry about it, it seems to be more prominent, Thanks for the insight. Cheers!

  4. maria says:

    Thank you, thank you for such informative article! I have very severe chronic migraines and even though I am a physician and have access to all the “new technologies” , I had already given up in finding a special kind of glasses for my photosensitivity and snow. No ophthalmologist, optometrist, or neurologist had been able to give me any answer. Your article is la life saver! Thanks Axonoptics and thanks Dr. Andrew Charles for linking to this website. ?

    • Virginia says:

      Hi Maria!
      We’re so glad that our article was informative to you. Many doctors do not know that our product exists because it is not promoted through a major pharmaceutical company. I hope that our lens provides you with the relief you need. Please email me at [email protected] if you have any questions or need help choosing a pair of glasses.

  5. Jane Lea says:

    We are desperate for answers and help. My now 17 year old son developed a debilitating case of VS 16 months ago. He went from 20/30 vision to 20/800 in a matter of months. He has all of the classic VS symptoms, except for tinnitus. He also has developed extreme tremors, which is another symptom of VS. We are in the 6000+ members VS support group on Facebook, and it seems like my son has the most severe case. He now is legally blind, walks with a guide cane, had to learn braille because he can no longer read at any magnification or with any light/font adjustments. He wears different tints of sunglasses and they only reduce the extreme light sensitivity to a bearable level. He has had every test, including opthamological, neurological, bloodwork, etc etc. Its VS and it’s bad. We need help.

    • Virginia says:

      Hi Jane,
      I’m so sorry to hear about the severity of your son’s Visual Snow. I wish there were a cure for this debilitating condition. As your son is extremely photophobic, our tints probably would be too light for him to wear alone. He might consider putting our outdoor tint in a Cover-RX Lite over one of his current dark lenses, to see if that provides him with some relief. Our tint has worked for some people with visual snow, so it may be worth trying in this situation. Please email me at [email protected] if you need any further guidance. Best of Luck!

  6. Matt says:

    I’ve had VS since i was a kid, it took years before i realised what i saw wasnt correct. Ive never visited a doctor. Im probably in between the mild and the worst. Ive never had any migraines or tinnitus. But I am colour blind (partial to green/yellow).

    Ive lived with it for over 20 years, and luckily i cant tell if has gotten worse. It has become a part of life i dont even think of it. Live life, be happy, dont dwell, see past the dots. Some periods are worse some are better, dont stress and sleep well. We are many. I know poeple in all fields of work who have it, firefighers, CEOs, teachers etc etc. Spread the word, thanks to internet now people finally wake up.

  7. Allie Smith says:

    Thank you for this article. I’ve come to realize that I’ve had broadband VS most of my life. Now I have migraines, extreme light sensitivity, and also sensitivity to noise and high-pitch frequencies. Just curious if any other VS people have sound sensitivity as well?? Saving up for some of your glasses, and hoping they’ll help. I’ve pretty much given up on going to doctors. But it’s nice to know there’s some research happening.

    • Erik says:

      Hi Allie, I am very sensitive to sound in addition to my Visual Snow. Are you able to work with the symptoms just curios. I’ve been so isolated with my symptoms.

  8. Tim says:

    Been struggling with this for a few years now. Had it as a child but shrugged it off. After a life changing experience, along with the use of psychedelic drugs, the snow became much more apparent. The blue entopic phenomenon is the worst part, it’s extremely hard to look at the sky during the day due to this. If anyone is doing research on this and wants to question me, or needs to talk, please do. [email protected]

  9. tohmi says:

    I have had visual snow as long as I can remember. I used to tell my mom that I could see atoms at night, and I remember seeing it vividly when going to bed, and would even make patterns out of it. I discovered the term visual snow about four years ago, and at that time it was nothing more than a whisper on the wide web with very limited data and research on it. I’m loving that there is all of this new information and people reaching out! I have a feeling it is not as rare as it seems, as I have met three other people who have it and describe it the same as I experience it. They have all had it since birth, but have no other visual perception issues, although I do not see well during the night because of it. I am excited to see so many people also experience the same condition!

  10. mark says:

    After having vs for my whole life (65 years), I just discovered that it has a name, and that I am not alone. Told my mother early on that I could see the air molecules. Got much worse after drug experimentation at 17. Lifelong struggle with ptsd, Ocd, anxiety, scrupulousity. I also have after images, migraine auras, some color displays in the dark, some tinnitus, etc. Now developed cervical dystonia. Unrelated? Preternaturally immune to all botox, the primary treatment. Had dbs brain surgery which has helped some. Life has not been easy.

  11. Eugenia says:

    My daughter has complained of this since she was somewhere between the ages of 5-7. She wold explain it as when the TV isn’t working and she sees it ALL the time. She is now almost 17 and we have been to multiple doctors. Recently a retinal specialist did a detailed eval on her and suggested another trip to a neurologist (second one we seen). MRI was clear so the retinal specialist suggested she really wasn’t seeing this and she just needed to live with it. Sometimes kids can make up things and that wasn’t the first time we heard that one. So we gave up again until it is really affecting her ability to complete assignments when it requires detailed reading. She gets so frustrated and just gives up. She gets mostly all A’s occasional B’s but has a hard time with small print. We have been seeking a 504 plan for her and have since been referred back to Cincinnati Children’s. We haven’t received the appointment yet. We will see but I am so glad there is research and some possible help.

    • Virginia says:

      I’m sorry to hear about your daughter’s suffering. I hope that she is able to get the relief she needs eventually!
      You’re also welcome to try a pair of our lenses for her. If you click SHOP at the top of the screen you can view our styles and read about the conditions for return so you can perform your own trial of the tint.

  12. Adrian Nelson says:

    Both me and my twin brother have had this our whole lives. Been to multiple eye doctors, all of them told me it was in my head. I’m assuming the condition is neurological in nature, seeing as the disturbance is in both eyes, and the optometrists couldn’t find anything wrong. Is it worth seeing a neurologist, or will they just tell me I’m imagining things too? Seems like even the so called professionals don’t know jack about this problem.

    • Virginia says:

      Unfortunately, many doctors are unaware of this condition as it is rare. I also feel that neuro-ophthalmological conditions get marginalized because neither neurologists nor ophthalmologists specialize in this crossover specialty. I would recommend looking for a Neuro-ophthalmologist who specializes in Visual Snow if there is one in your area. You can search for a qualified doctor here:

      You’re also welcome to try a pair of our lenses. If you click SHOP at the top of the screen you can view our styles and read about the conditions for return so you can perform your own trial of the tint.

  13. john says:

    The Axon rose tinted glasses just make the visual snow worse for my daughter, the dots are more noticeable with the axon tints, like they light them up. However, regular grey sunglasses work a little better, as they dull them.

    • Virginia says:

      Hi John,
      The lenses do work for some people, but not for everyone. I’m sorry to hear they did not work for your daughter, but glad to hear that there is a widespread, affordable solution for her.

  14. john says:

    By the way, couldn’t get a refund when we found out the axon glasses didn’t work as advertised, even with the guarantee stated.

    • Virginia says:

      Hi John,
      I’d be glad to look into that for you. We do provide a refund on all orders that meet the return requirements. Either your order was a custom order, was too old to refund, or was too damaged to refund. If this isn’t the case, then you are eligible for a refund. If you’d like to give me your real email address, name, or order number, I can look into the specifics for you.

  15. Lori Boone says:

    I just realised I have visual snow too. I think I had it my whole life as I can remember being afraid in the dark because I saw “white things” flying at me. I have always had a lot of anziety too since I was a child and snow vision is linked to anziety.
    Recently due to lots of extreme stress and perhaps a couple head injuries one from falling in the bathroom and one from an auto accident my symptoms have worsened. My vision started getting more blurry. I am extremely sensitive to light now. I have constant low buzzing in both of my ears (tinnitus) with a few instances of very load pitches and temporary hearing loss in one ear. I hear my heart beat a lot in my ears especially at night, my body feels shaky or like it is vibrating to the noise and static vision. My head and ears have constant pressure, my head feels very big sometimes, and I feel disconnected from my body sometimes. I have extreme double/distorted vision especially close up. I have a huge amount of floaters (big black dots and black hairs), and I actually see the viens in my eyes with blood platelets moving through them. These are the worse when looking at the blue sky or a light colored wall. I have a consant dull headache above my eyebrows and feel dizzy and nauseated quite a bit. It is hard to work on PC’s and my phone now.
    My night vision is the worse. I feel like I am on acid or magic mushrooms when trying to drive at night. I only took acid and mushrooms once in my 20’s, and the distortion and color affects seem similar. I experience huge halos, light trails, colored ghost shadows from reflective surfaces, starbursts, flares and flashes from all lights and reflective surfaces. It seems much darker at night too and hard to see things. It is horrifying and stressful to drive at night now like this. It is even stressful driving during the day on busy freeways. Lane changes especially cause panic attacks for me as I see so much distortion.
    I also suffer from migranes and optical migranes and auras, anziety, fatigue, PTSD, hand and feet numbness, several autoimmune diseases, insomnia, depression and Fibromyalgia, which are common for those with snow vision.
    I was looking for probable eye diseases that could cause some of my issues when I found an article on snow vision syndrome. Imagine my surprise when I found out it was not normal to see dark and light dancing small dots on everything with your eyes open, or see small black and white dancing dots, flashes, and swirls, and negative images of things you just looked at when you close your eyes! I thought everyone saw these along with light halos my whole life. It was not until the condition worsened that I realized something was wrong. I am glad these discussions and awarness of this condition is growing.
    My eye doctor gave me Brimondine OP 0.2% Sol AKO eye drops to try 1 drop twice a day morning and night to help with light sensitivity and night vision issues. These are drops are usually used for glaucoma and optic nerve damage but also help reduce pupil size, thus reducing nightime vision issues like halos, glare, starburts, monocular diplopia (double vision in one eye). I think the glare is better and halos smaller but the light flares and starburts are still are very bothersome. I hope that gets better with more use of the drops. He also suggested hard contacts to help flatten my cornea and reduce light refraction, as my cornea is slightly misshapen (but I do not have keratoconus disease as he checked for that), which I might try next as my glasses even though they have antiglare make the light flares and distortions worse. I often have to remove my glasses to drive at night or change lanes. He said I should also see a neurologist for my symptoms as he felt they were in the brain not my eyes. Have any of you seen a neurologist. Can a neurologist actually confirm snow vision issues in your brain with testing or imaging? Are any of you involved in medical test groups that others can join?
    Is this condition hereditary because I believe my Dad had this as he had constant tinnitus and vision issues, as did my one brother who also was diagnosed with a siezure disorder. Both my Dad and brother had Fibromylasia and atrial fibrillation and pace makers and POTS disease. Has anyone seen a correction between these issues and Snow Vision? Is that next…?
    My primary doctor looked up snow vision and prescribed lamotrigine 25 MG tablets to try 1 tab twice a day to reduce the snow vision symptoms. It is an anti-seizure medication. They say it can help with potential cortical hyperexcitability syndrome which they feel causes snow vision. I am afraid to try the medicine though as it has a really bad allergic rash advisory (Stevens-Johnston syndrom) and I have a lot of allergy and skin issues already. Has anyone tried this medicine and had success with it reducing your symptoms? Hope we all find a cure someday. Nice to know I am not alone and not just imagining all of this! Thanks. Lori

    • Ben says:

      I have every absolutely every thing you just described!! 🙁 have you had any luck yet with help like medications you spoke of ? VS is so life changingly hard

  16. Nathan says:

    I have had this for years. Mine manifests 24/7 with tons of dots in the light and are more prevalent in the darkness. In the light, I also have afterimages on pretty much any object I look at, directly or indirectly, regardless of the duration I look at it. I have daily headaches and/or migraines. The worse the headache, the more dots I see. It has evolved over time to more than that. Now when it is going on and I get really anxious, I will see a blue flash (like the negative you see after looking at the sun) which will be followed by random symptoms…

    I spoke with my doctor (military doctor) and they said “I’ve never heard of this, try the Opthamologist. I had my eyes checked and they said everything was fine. I asked them about this issue, and they’d never heard of it. I explained how it affects my life and they (military doctor) said “Well, I don’t see it as a big deal so you’ll have to deal with it.”

    The best I could do was try to get them to jot it down in my record “since it isn’t a big deal.”
    On a side note, I find it interesting it is linked to drugs. I have never tried any drugs, so this is not a result of those. My son also has this. I never talk about “the dots” but one night he asked me “Dad, what are all the yellow dots when it is dark?” So I asked him some questions, and as it turns out, he sees similar things. At 8 years old I would say he was not a drug user either.


  17. Carssen Damon says:

    I’ve always had floaters and mild tinnitus that I’ve dealt with my whole life. I’ve also been very headache prone. In high school I started getting migraines without aura and VS and photosensitivity would accompany my migraines, but it would go away. I had another migraine two weeks ago and I can’t get rid of the VS or the photosensitivity. I’ve also noticed dimmed vision, and when I read, the words sort of vibrate with a colorful shadow. Does anyone else notice this? It’s extremely hard to read! My final semester of college is starting next week so I’m extremely panicked. I’ve had an eye exam and still have 20/20 vision & the optometrist said I don’t need any prescription lenses but the VS makes it nearly impossible to concentrate on the words. I’d love to get any tips and tricks anyone has found to help them read a little easier.

  18. Mary Jo Finan says:

    I have visual snow, tinnitus & Migraines all sorts of auras Klonopin helped and now my eyes are so dry I find it much worse I need to go back on higher levels of klonopin I was at 6mg now at 3mg so I want to get help my life back – Who here suffers from dry eyes Sjogren?

  19. Jen says:

    Thank you for publishing an informative article on visual snow. I’ve suffered from visual snow, migraines and tinnitus for about 20 years now, although one of my doctors recognized it-she told me there’s nothing I can do-the rest told me it was in my head. I’ve gone through bouts where it has been so thick for weeks at a time that I can’t carry out normal activities like driving at night or using computer. At other times it just returns to its normal nuisance.
    I’ve been thinking about acupuncture to see if it helps?

  20. Ethan says:

    I’ve had this all my life is there a way to calm it down. Because at night its the worst, every thing is coated in the dots. I definitely have Pulse type visual snow so it bugs me at night and on bright objects

  21. Anonymous says:

    I started developing this 3 months after being on Levonorgestrel (Mirena IUD). At first, it was just the onset of broadband visual snow accompanied with daily headaches, migraines triggered by driving, tingling hands, pain in left arm and loss of fine motor skills in my hands. (I’m an artist and have always made a living at it, so this was and still is a HUGE deal to me. My vision was perfect until age 37, even then, a slight prescription for distance was all I needed for driving. Everything was fine with my vision until, at age 47, my insurance refused to allow me to have uterine ablation for anemia due to endometriosis unless I tried birth control first. (I never used bc in my 20’s, I used Yaz for one year when I was 36-37 and looking back, I realize that my need for glasses was most likely caused by the bc…same drug, btw: Levonorgestrel) I reported the Mirena IUD symptoms to my Dr and she encouraged me to “stay with it” to see if my “body will adjust to it” and wrote me an Rx for migraine medication ( I never took it because of my history with bad reactions to pain Rxs and I didn’t want to compound the problem) Over the next few months I developed shaky hands, double vision, nausea, deep aching pain in my left elbow that would wake me up in the middle of the night, extreme fatigue and depression. 9 1/2 months after the IUD had been placed, I was in an accident that gave me a concussion. I had the IUD removed asap – 10 months after first insertion. Since the day of the accident, in addition to the visual snow and other symptoms, I’ve had reverse-image trailing that compounds the more I look around. Layers and layers of constantly moving transparent images of what I just looked at in the opposite color of the original object. Light and dark spots in my peripheral that are opaque, start small grow big then disappear in a matter of 1-3 seconds and cause me to think something is there or miss what’s actually there. When I stare at an object, over a matter of seconds a yellowish-white glow “grows” around the edges and keeps getting bigger until I look away. Tinnitus, extreme light and sound sensitivity, blue cast on lighter areas sometimes, flashes of blue and variations of purple & green sometimes, extreme contrast in low light settings that make it difficult to see the “middle” of light and dark, neuropathy, left arm goes numb with minimal activity, left knee “goes out” and I can’t walk, MS-like symptoms, weakness over entire left side of body, fatigue, dizziness, loss of balance, clumsiness, cognitive decline, extreme nausea, constant headache at base of skull and top of head (on the inside), constant pressure behind eyes and in entire head, occasional sharp shooting pains in center of each hemisphere (brain) that last for a few seconds and are in connection with nerve pain felt in arms and legs. Use of electronics make headache and vision/tinnitus worse, as does a sunny day – even small reflections of light are overwhelmingly bright and painful. I haven’t been able to drive since the concussion and I’ve been dealing with the original onset of broadband visual snow for over a year now. I’ve never tried illicit drugs and rarely drank alcohol (less than 3 drinks a year) before 2016. Two years ago I started using CBD oil and medical marijuana in lieu of Advil for chronic pain. (Advil has always made my intestines bleed and Tylonol never worked) I’m allergic to both families of Rx pain meds (hence, the medical MJ), I eat clean organic, had food allergy testing done and avoid those foods, exercised regularly, etc. With the exception of anemia/endometriosis, I felt better than I ever had in 2016 after making dietary changes and using herbal supplements. My life took a downward turn after the Mirena, and since the concussion I’ve been unable to function like a normal person. I’m unable to work, drive, keep a clean house, remember, learn, create, see, hear or exercise like I used to. I cry often over what I’ve lost. I’d like to participate in any studies that involve finding and repairing the neurological damage through natural means as opposed to using drugs to suppress symptoms in one area of the body, only to end up destroying another area. I will never willingly take another synthetic drug again. I’m looking for the herbal equivalents for true healing and am willing to experiment with combinations of foods, spices, herbs, manual therapies (chiro, occupational, etc) and exercises in order to have my life back. I’m still hoping to heal from all of this.

  22. Alexa R Jorda says:

    I’d say it’s probably less drug use and just genetic/something different neurologically(I know I have anxiety issues, and need to get tested for autoimmune stuff because of joint/allergy issues).
    I’ve known more people who have had this since childhood/lifelong(myself included) than non.
    Broadband type here, and in the delightful percent that gets the extra issues like floaters/decreased night vision(heck I get all the ones you mentioned up there. Fuuuuun I say).

    I am glad more people are learning this exists though, I only found out what it was called like 8+ years ago when I mentioned it to a Walmart based eye doctor and he said ti was visual snow, but that it’s not all that well known yet/not much research had been done on it since it’s seen as non-vital/non-dangerous.

  23. Brianna says:

    I’ve had visual snow for as long I can remember. I didn’t know it wasn’t normal until my parents forced me to go to the eye doctor in 5th grade and told the doctor what I saw. He told me that wasn’t possible and I was mistaken. I felt stupid and humiliated and never brought it up to a doctor since. I didn’t start getting headaches until I was a teenager, and those didn’t develop into migraines until I was in college. Now, I have good days and bad days. The bad days are really bad, and I’m basically a useless person. On bad days, it’s really difficult to focus on my work be myself. I’m at a loss for who to go to for possible treatment. I’d rather not waste the money just to be told I’m lying to the doctor. Where can I go, and who can I talk to for treatment options? Also, I’m so thankful that someone has pushed for researching this. Literally brings tears to my eyes knowing that I’m not the only one struggling with this and I’m not crazy.

    • Lori Glover says:

      Many of our customers suffer from visual snow. All of our non-prescription frames have a 30 day return policy.

  24. Kyle says:

    I thought my whole life that my sight was normal. I watched the videos, read articles, and saw pictures. Compared to the video above, my VS doesnt seem THAT bad and I feel sorry for anyone whose VS really is that bad. What I see on a daily basis is a static field that is very visible on flat surfaces and dark places. It is less visible when Im looking at textures objects or when Im watching movies but it definitely is always present. Occasionally, when I see bright lights or windows, the static thickens and blocks my vision temporarily. Im still discovering whether or not I really do have this condition but if anyone with VS could help me and confirm more or less that I have this condition based on what I described, I would appreciate it A LOT. Thanks for the article… Definitely calmed me down.

    • Liza says:

      Hi Kyle! That static field you’re describing certainly sounds like VS. Do you have any of the other problems? After images, photophobia, tinnitus, floaters, self light of the eye, night blindness maybe?

  25. Liza says:

    I am fourteen, and I’ve had VS all of my life. I just realized a couple of months ago. It was shocking. I have anxiety and I had some problems with Acute Stress Disorder about a year and a half ago. Acute Stress Disorder is basically the prequel to PTSD. There is no difference in synptoms or the severity of said symptoms, it’s just that is ASD lasts longer than six months it’s classified as PTSD. I’ve never told a doctor about my VS. I’ve never really told anyone, really. Except, my parents might have connected the dots when I would complain about seeing the atoms being distracting and about how, when they turned the lights off, the bugs were everywhere.
    It is such an euphoric feeling to realize that I’m not alone. That there are other people about there who understand what it’s like. I don’t usually comment on sites, or interact with the web in general, but I just wanted to say thank you. This is one of the most informative sites I’ve come across and has made me happy beyond belief. Thank you.

    • Lori Glover says:

      Visual snow is a condition that is considered to be relatively rare, but obtaining exact statistics is not easy because many patients don’t realize they have it or don’t realize that it is not normal. Over the years patients have faced many challenges. It was not regarded as a “real” condition by many doctors. Visual snow patients were often treated similar to those with chronic pain and conditions like fibromyalgia. Many times they were told that it was “all in their head” or the result of past or present illicit drug use.

      The clinical term for visual snow is aeropsia but it may also be referred to as “visual static” or “positive persistent visual disturbance.” Some of the more common treatments include vision therapy, medication, diet, and precision tinted glasses. Axon Optics glasses block the light that has been implicated in triggering reactions and can worsen the condition. Our frames have a 30 day return policy should you find them ineffective. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

  26. Kohl says:

    I get brief bouts of visual static, it usually start with my brain trying to read every word in a sentence at the same time (like I can’t read a sentence with 5 words in it without extreme concentration and it still takes me a minute to get it) and then slowly I start seeing static fill in my periphery but it doesn’t last much more than an hour. I don’t really want to call it visual snow because it isn’t a constant thing I have to deal with but it’s hard to find something else to call it.

    • Lori Glover says:

      Thank you for sharing. Symptoms certainly vary among individuals. Visual snow is a condition that is considered to be relatively rare, but obtaining exact statistics is not easy because many patients don’t realize they have it or don’t realize that it is not normal. Over the years patients have faced many challenges. It was not regarded as a “real” condition by many doctors. Visual snow patients were often treated similar to those with chronic pain and conditions like fibromyalgia. Many times they were told that it was “all in their head” or the result of past or present illicit drug use.

      The clinical term for visual snow is aeropsia but it may also be referred to as “visual static” or “positive persistent visual disturbance.”
      Some of the more common treatments include vision therapy, medication, diet, and precision tinted glasses. Axon Optics glasses block the light that has been implicated in triggering reactions and can worsen the condition. Our frames have a 30 day return policy should you find them ineffective.

  27. Kiesha says:

    Recently my son asked me
    do I see static. Then he proceed to describe that he sees black and white dots all the time. They are constantly moving, and he can not see them on screens like his cell phone, TV etc. He sees color and appears to see normal but the dots are covering everything he sees. They get slower and fast and he sees blobs of bright greens and white lights. Then it goes black and he can not see at all. I’m just so scared because this came out of nowhere. He is only 12 and has so much to life to live. I just pray that this condition does not get more severe and a cure is found. Thank you to everyone that has shared their experiences. It’s helping me to understand VS better and possible things to look out for and to look into. Bless everyone

    • Lori Glover says:

      We also hope his condition does not worsen and that he can find relief. Good luck with everything you do. Thank you for sharing.

  28. Bethl says:

    How cool to run into this article! I have had visual snow for all my days, well at least I think so. I can only wear brown tinted sunglasses and almost totally night blind. As I have aged, my eyes have become very sensitive to light, even on cloudy days I have to wear my sunglasses. It’s very interesting to read about so many who also are unique! Also clarifies that I’m not crazy! Thank you!

  29. Stacey says:

    I believe I have had slight form of visual snow my whole life with complex migraines. A few years ago I had a spontaneous vertebral artery dissection now with visual disturbance with patterns that never goes away. I am prone to falling due to the patterns moving consistently. I have been told there is nothing to be done. I have tinted prescription glasses and am looking for anything to help.

    • Lori Glover says:

      Axon Optics glasses block the light that has been implicated in triggering reactions and worsening the visual snow condition. Our frames have a 30 day return policy so that you can determine if they are effective for your specific needs. Feel free to email [email protected] if you have any questions.

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