Here is a link to a recent news blurb about visual snow in the media.WNYT.com – Visual Snow: it’s like having a sort of TV static in your field of vision all the time. First time I have ever heard it being discussed in the media and so I think it is great for spreading awareness. For me this is part of my persistent migraine aura… hard really to say how much of it is vs and how much is other aura symptoms because vs has more than a few symptoms associated with it of which I have as part of my aura along with the actual snowy, staticy vision. I can say I find it weird and fasintating because I have had visual snow for a very long time, long before my migraines were even diagnosed or at all frequent… so weird to say that I had a persistent migtaine aura that long, yet some of my migraine auras are not associated with vs so I must have. Maybe I had silent migraines. Maybe it had something to do with the whole alice in wonderland symptoms I had. Whatever the case may be the persistent migraine phenomena is in itself hard to explain and visual snow even harder. Neither respond well to treatment, but vs even less so, which means practically not at all so it seems while there are similarities they do not respond the same way to the same treatments. Same area of the brain… it is speculated, but can we say it is the same cause? I doubt it. Aura, persistent or not, fluctuate a lot. I may have a variety of the damned things but they vary day to day and intensity and duration and color and a great deal of factors… including of course an actual migraine which does in fact cause the usual aura before a migraine (which may or may not be visual). And while it may be puzzling as to why auras persist for so long, we do know why auras occur and the process involved. Visual snow… no one has a clue, but it is constant. There is no off switch to it. Some of the other symptoms may vary, and I suspect are associated with various triggers to the condition… but the vs itself is a continous visual phenomena. It can get worse, most definately it can get worse… thick, clumpy and pulsing and flickering seem to be add ons… and it can be less intrusive. Night time makes it worse. Lack of sleep makes it worse. But mild or severe it is always there, so not like an aura in that sense. Maybe that is why preventaive medications do not seem to suppress it as well… at best making it less severe. I think at times those medications simply reduce the things that make it worse, thereby making it appear less vivid… but if that works then it works.
Whatever the case may be, I know as part of my auras it can mess things up quite a bit. Like a layer to a layer to a layer. My vision simply gets too distorted and warped. Some people say ‘just ignore it’ and to some extent I agree. I don’t stress out about it, but at the same time, I would not let me drive either… but then doctors don’t ‘see’ it the same way and have never had concerns about my driving with constant migraines, vertigo and all these weird auras. When i don’t work I choose not to drive, when I work I cannot choose unless they choose for me which they don’t. So it is a bit of a problem that others don’t take it so seriously, even those that should. I mean, sure I don’t get worked up about it, but I acknowledge the fact that my visual acuity is comprmamised in such a way that glasses cannot fix it. Such that if someone is standing across the room I cannot see their features… just this warping sparkling, staticly splotch. No big deal, I know they are there… it is kind of like being near-sighted and not wearing your glasses I guess, but with a lot of extra Movement going on. Obviously, my migraine auras make my vs more warpy and distorted. But some days are not so bad. During the day can be quite a bit better vs snow wise but worse on the persistent aura side and quite a bit worse light sensititvity wise.
And some people have vs without migraines at all… the very fact this condition exists seperate from migraines altogether suggests some sort of different mechanism than a migraine aura to me. So I am very interested in the new research. I get there must be a connection between migraines and vs, but migraines affect a great deal of the brain so that connection could be quite a bit different than historically thought. I also think it is very intersting to note that some migraine people with vs do not actually have migraine with aura… as in they do not have any other visual or other aura phase of the migraine, but they have vs.
If you have visual snow here is an awesome group on Facebook for information or support… which was mentioned during the news article.
Visual snow Facebook Page