What is Visual Snow Syndrome?
Visual Snow Syndrome ('VS') is a rare but devastating neurological condition that can affect an individual’s vision, hearing, and cognitive functioning. A landmark study published in 2014 proposed diagnostic criteria for the syndrome and provides the best definition of VS. According to the study, patients must have:
- Visual snow (i.e. dynamic, continuous, tiny dots in their entire visual field) for three months, and
- At least two of the following four categories of additional symptoms (which are explained and visualised on the symptoms page):
- Palinopsia (afterimages or trailing),
- Enhanced entoptic phenomena (floaters, blue-field entoptic phenomena, self-light of the eye or spontaneous photopsia)
- Photophobia (light sensitivity), and
- Nyctalopia (impaired night vision).
Additionally, their symptoms must not be:
- Consistent with a typical migraine visual aura (i.e. a migraine that produces visual symptoms), or
- Attributable to another disorder (i.e. the patient’s eye exams produce normal results, and they have not taken any psychotropic drugs).
In addition to these core symptoms, most patients experience many other additional symptoms; these are also explained and illustrated on the symptoms page. VS affects a patient's vision 24/7, which means that they never have any relief from it – even when they close their eyes, the visual snow and other symptoms are still present. Currently, there is no cure for the disease and it is yet to receive official widespread recognition within the medical profession.
'I’m stuck at home. I can’t see. I can’t go anywhere. I can’t see my way around where I’m going. I can’t drive. I can’t see my friends. I can’t go to school. I can’t do anything anymore.’ – Jack Lea
Please spread the word about this condition, especially by sharing this website! Please also consider donating money to fund research into VS. You'll soon be able to donate to The Visual Snow Foundation, but in the meantime you can donate to the US-based Eye On Vision Foundation,which has funded signifcant research in the past. A considerable amount of money is needed for further research into finding a treatment. Any contributions, regardless of size, are valuable and sorely needed.