Visual snow is a condition that causes persistent static in the visual field. It can range from mild to intense. There is a correlation to migraine in that 50% of the people with Visual Snow have migraine, but the remainder never has. Here is an article I wrote on Visual Snow.

Here is a list of the common ones associated with Visual Snow:

  1. Visual snow – Seeing snow or television-like static in parts of or the whole of your visual field. Visual snow can be any colour but it usually consists of small, translucent dots whose flicker intensity varies from person to person.
  1. Palinopsia – A visual disturbance that causes images to persist to some extent even after their corresponding stimulus has left.
  2. Tinnitus – Characterized by a noise or ringing in the ears.
  3. Floaters – Spots or specks that wander indiscriminately around in your visual field.
  4. Light sensitivity – Also known as photosensitivity, light sensitivity is identified by an increased sensitivity to light. This includes artificial light as well as natural sunlight.
  5. Phosphenes – A phenomenon characterized by seeing light without light actually entering the eye.
  6. Blue field entoptic phenomenon – Commonly known as Scheerer’s phenomenon, it is the appearance of tiny bright dots which move quickly along squiggly lines in the visual field, when looking into bright blue light (most often the sky).
  7. Halos/rays – Also commonly referred to as starbursting, consists of seeing halos or rays around sources of light. This also includes reflected sunlight off a car, for instance.
  8. Benign fasciculation syndrome – Characterized by twitching of various voluntary muscles in the body.
  9. Haidinger’s brush – An entoptic phenomenon in which people are able to perceive polarization of light.
  10. Purkinje’s tree – A visual phenomenon characterized by seeing the retinal blood vessels in one’s own eye.
  11. Eustachian tube problems – In addition to tinnitus, sufferers of visual snow often experience ear fullness as well as a clicking sound when swallowing.
  12. Red-eye – Characterized by abnormal redness of the eye or eyes.
I have persistent migraine aura and Visual Snow and have for quite some time.
Palinopsia– I assume this is afterimages, I do get this a lot and I assume everyone is familiar with this effect. I just get them quite a bit.
Tinnitus-I had no idea people with VS often had this as well, but yeah I do have constant tinnitus. Silence has a sound and it is not pleasant.
Floaters– are common with visual snow and these are those round dots you see in your visual field that move with your eyes. I think they are a reflection of something in your eye if I recall correctly. Most people see them from time to time, they are just more common with VS.
Light Sensitivity– Well, migraines and fibromyalgia ensure light is not my freaking friend.
Phosphenesnot sure about this one, unless it is the phenomena when we close our eyes we see lights… warping fields of colour where there should be none.
Blue field-Now I also have very intense Blue field entoptic phenomenon and I actually thought they were the same thing, but this is actually sort of cool if you can see it. They are just pinpricking sparkles of light dancing in the sky… billions of them, in a chaotic pattern really. And they are vivid against a blue background, thus the name, but you can see them against a white background (like a wall) or a computer screen or even anything bright you can see them flicker and dancing, sort of distorting things during the bright daylight hours. A little more about Blue field phenomena
Halos/raysThis one is a sporadic one for me. Just randomly occurs.
Eustachian tube problems– yeah, but not sure if this is a VS this or not, but yeah.
So visual snow… what is that about then? People commonly say like a TV without reception… the black and white static. That is true. It is a grainy, staticy movement imposed on everything you see all the time, but worse at night. It makes things indistinct, surreal and distorted. I often think of it like a Claude Monet painting… sort of indistinct but with movement, shifting. At night I would say it is… not a good idea to drive because the distortion makes things too indistinct. During the day I can see the static when I look at a wall or anything, it makes things grainy, or pixellated, but it is more clear. Of course, during the day there are other issues; severe light sensitivity, the blue field phenomena, warping effects, other migraine issues with vision (objects appear to be moving, warping, vertigo, pulsing effect). Add it all up and even during the day things are surreal.

Read also: Visual snow is a distinct clinical entity

See also Migraine by Oliver Sacks to read about migraines and auras (of which visual snow was Long considered to be)

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4 thoughts on “Visual Snow- what symptoms are there?

  1. Hi, I just found your blog and am so amazed because no one has been able to provide this much info on my vision problems! Where did you find all of this? I get migraines with aura and just finished a miserable pregnancy because they got so much worse. I ended up back on meds even though it was risky for baby (who is fine btw) because I couldn't function and care for our other child. Since March, I have been having many of the visual effects that you mention in this post, but no one has had any suggestions on what to do. My husband found a blog of someone else with similar auras who was eventually tested and they found out she didn't process B vitamins properly. She started on a supplement with Trimethylglycine and her symptoms started to get better in just 3 weeks! We didn't want to supplement during pregnancy, but found out there is a high amount of TMG in spinach, so I ate 2 large spinach servings every day for the last 3 months of the pregnancy & am still eating it once a day. It has helped a ton – not totally gone, but at least livable. Looking in to the supplement now. Good luck with your search. I totally feel your pain, literally.


  2. Hi Rebecca… I'm glad you have found something non-medication wise that can help and that this blog has given you some information that at least gives you a name to some of the visual phenomena. It took a lot of research to find it all for sure. I was interested in it because my neuro had troubles treating it and seemed to lump them all under one category… but the typtical migraine aura was effectively treated, while the persistent migraine aura was not and the visual snow not at all. So i dug around and found out the visual snow really is a seperate phenomena that many people get as a persistent migraine aura, along with others but is difficult to treat. And some of the things we get are in the eye and just more frequent. And then others are actual auras… so it becomes just many different things. I mean with a persistent migraine with aura you can get many different phenomena from pulsing, to flickering, to lines appearing to shimmer and move, to the more common scintillations. So visual snow comes with all those symptoms and a persistent migraine aura comes with an assortment of auras. Creates quite an interesting assortment. Quite fasinating. In my case I think they can treat the persistent auras. Likely with topamax which is what they are trying. The visual snow will likely remain. But good luck with your treatment!


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