Visual Snow: Anyone experience this?

Posted by agraffia @agraffia, Jul 17, 2012

Has anyone ever experienced “visual snow”? My daughter suffers from this and sees it 24/7. No doctors seem to be able to help her. We’ve been everywhere in Chicago, and nobody can help her so they left it with “sorry, she’ll have to learn to live with it”. She’s only 12 years old! So I’m trying Mayo now. Just wondering if anyone out there has ever experienced this; apparently it’s rather rare.

Liked by countryrain

Hi @tnmom75, welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Thank you for sharing what helps you cope with the visual snow. Do you have any questions you are trying to get answered? There are a lot of members here with experience and this is a great place to ask questions to find out what helps other members.

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@johnbishop

Hi @tnmom75, welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Thank you for sharing what helps you cope with the visual snow. Do you have any questions you are trying to get answered? There are a lot of members here with experience and this is a great place to ask questions to find out what helps other members.

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Thank you! My questions would be:
1. If developed at a later age (40’s for me), have most experienced a trauma or event that caused their VS? Other than a bad cold and ear infection after visiting a beach with “Red Tide”, that is the only thing I can possibly pinpoint. I did some research on Red Tide, and their has been some correlation to patients presenting in ER with neurological symptoms. Anyone else here have a similar story?
2. Has VS gone away for anyone, or does it just get to a “manageable” state when you identify your triggers? Mine has been constant now for 2 months. Thanks!

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Those are two good questions @tnmom75. I'm tagging other members who have posted in this discussion to see if they can offer any suggestions or information for your questions. @peterpan226, @oldkarl, @manalabbass, @erikassf, @margiek and @woodgreen, do you have any information you can share with @tnmom75?

As far as a possibility of red tide being responsible, there is a lot of information that would support your feeling. I did a search on Google Scholar (https://scholar.google.com) for the phrase "red tide neurological symptoms" and it returned a lot of results. Here is a link to all of the results that were found:
https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C24&q=red+tide+neurological+symptoms&btnG=

Your question has VS gone away for anyone, or does it just get to a “manageable” state when you identify your triggers? Not sure if this is helpful or not so hopefully others will be able to share their experiences.

Everything You Wanted to Know About Visual Snow
https://www.axonoptics.com/2017/03/visual-snow-guide/

National Organization for Rare Disorders – Visual Snow Syndrome
https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/visual-snow-syndrome/

Liked by Lisa Lucier

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I initially had aurora before what I am told is ocular migraine hit. It happened for no obvious reason and I have never had such a "migraine" or headache that did not hurt at all, before. Initially it lasted for about ten minutes. Many years later it hits suddenly, without aurora and lasts longer, up to 45 minutes now. It is not snow rather a motley or checkerboard shimmery type vision where half the visual field is not there and it requires me to move my eyes about to find the missing elements if at all possible (impossible to read letters in a book when this happens). The issue ends as sudden as it hits…until…I have had via Stanford Univ. Pain Clinc, Botox injections about the forehead, temples and back of the neck in one application. It is not at all as painful as it might seem, the needle is small and the injected amount not much per 32 injections and it is not applied at sensitive areas such as the lips or the nose. It has been long enough since the quick in and out of the neurologist/ anesthesiologists clinic initial injection(s), that I would have have had at least three optical migraines since, but not one has happened since this first treatment. Hardly a statistically satisfactory reason to say it helps; yet I have nothing else to suggest it did not. I am due for the next series of injections…they prefer three sets of injections over several months to see if this novel therapy helps.

I should add in that recently I was prescribed Dapson to see if it helps with a skin issue. It seemed to increase the sensitivity to sun sensed by my eyes. Already bright, it had become almost too much to take especially when driving mid-day and having the sun's reflections from other cars into my neutral gray, normally only marginally effective "flight" grade sunglasses. I was suggested to order red tinted lenses instead for apparently that color blocks out the glare better. The diagnosis was photo sensitivity which happens to also be common as I just read about this issue of snow like vision impairment. Perhaps trying such tinted eyeglass helps with the issue if a specific band of light is in part, causing your daughter's problem; it's is only a guess. I take it that you have seen neuro-opthamologic experts.

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I think I do. I’ve never mentioned it before because it doesn’t really bother me, and I kind of assumed everyone sees that way. It’s been there for as long as I can remember. Whenever I look at things it just looks like I’m looking at a TV. When I was younger I thought I was able to see atoms and molecules. I mostly tune it out, similar to how we don’t see our noses. I don’t know if your daughter has a more severe case, but it’s never caused me any issues and not really worth looking into or medicating.

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I have this sometimes. If I close my eyes it's like I'm driving in a winter storm sometimes I can see it with eyes open. Doctors never found any cause. It doesn't affect my gision but if it does for you get your eyes checked.

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I truly pray for help for your daughter. It must be so frustrating, especially at her age. I had cataract surgery 2years ago and recently had an experience of seeing different patterns – net on the walls, snowing in my livingroom, etc. was told it was floaters. I finally found a doctor who lasered buildip from my artificial lens. That ey was perfect but now the other eye is very blurry. I don’t have an apt till the end of Feb. i know this is not your daughter’s problem. I wish it were because it is easy to fix. I have ocular migraines several times a day. I know none of this helps but i do understand what all of you are going through. I will keep her in prayer.

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@ryman

I truly pray for help for your daughter. It must be so frustrating, especially at her age. I had cataract surgery 2years ago and recently had an experience of seeing different patterns – net on the walls, snowing in my livingroom, etc. was told it was floaters. I finally found a doctor who lasered buildip from my artificial lens. That ey was perfect but now the other eye is very blurry. I don’t have an apt till the end of Feb. i know this is not your daughter’s problem. I wish it were because it is easy to fix. I have ocular migraines several times a day. I know none of this helps but i do understand what all of you are going through. I will keep her in prayer.

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My husband had floaters & got rid of them with “eye vitamins.” I heard a doctor say that a carrot a day will get rid of them. I pray that this works for you.

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@eyeonvision

That sounds like something related to your retina.
Thank you,
Jen Ambrose

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Is the eye with the snow covered at times so no light goes through? I had similar issue with a brain problem not eyes and having migraines. The doctors had no answers so I figured it out myself.

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@danny59

Hello my name is Danny. I live in Hayward, Ca. I haven’t been to the Dr to have a diagnosis but I’m certain I have VS. I got an onset of floaters Nov 2016 and VS came this Jan 2017. I’ve worn glasses since I was a teen. My mom has bad eye sight as well, she began to suffer from various conditions late in her 50’s from iritis, inflammation, and one or two floaters.

I’ll be 36 this year and I am attributing VS to the very stressful and traumatic 2016.

Here is my story it’s long but I promise it will provide some insight….

Feb 17th, 2016, I sustained 3rd degree burns to my right arm due to an accident working on a car. I was hospitalized for 13 days at St Francis Medical Burn Unit. I had the first 2 surgeries of my life during my stay (xenografts and autografts) it was the absolute worst pain I’ve experienced ever. It was also the first time I’ve ever taken pain meds, ever. I was given morphine, percocets, dilaudid, fentynol round the clock. After being discharged, I spent the next 5 months healing up at home. Physically my recovery has gone well. Attempted to go back to work and everything seemed normal for the next few months.

Come Oct 8th, 2016 while I was visiting a friend in NY I got a severe panic attack, hands turned blue and ice cold, began convulsing, heart beating a million miles, in and out of consciousness. A week later after coming home, I began to experience heavy anxiety. So much so I could barley walk, short of breathe, felt as if at any moment I could pass out. Within the coming weeks my anxiety got so bad I couldn’t leave my apartment. I saw a psychiatrist and was prescribed anti depressants (benzos and SSRi’s) at times they worked. However in Nov 2016 I noticed eye floaters in my vision and after some research I personally came to the conclusion that the benzos may have caused the floaters so I decided to stop. Coming off benzos to SSRI’s was extremely hard and literally felt like I was going die. I’ve seen 2 optometrists and 1 ophthalmologist who said nothing could be done about my floaters and not to worry as my eyes are structurally and physically healthy.

Jan 2017 I began to have bad acid reflux from some of the SSRI’s I was taking so I stopped them as well and began to notice the VS. When the VS came it also came with a very strange sensation of de-realization which eventually went away. It also came with a host of other eye problems, negative after images when I close my eyes, visual portals/auras, lightning bolts, light sensitivity a bit of tinnitus and my very first migraine.

I’m generally a very healthy person. I don’t eat beef or pork or any fast food at all whatsoever. I do a lot of walking. I’ve never done any serious drugs my entire life aside from cannabis, in fact it was only until 2016 that I’ve taken morphine when I was in the ICU (for my burn) or any prescription medications.

As of Oct 2016 I’ve quit drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis. I was only a weekend social drinker, and smoked cannabis a few times a week.

My VS consists more of color static. I have trouble focusing and can’t stare at anything bright for too long, glares, reflections all bother me. I also have light trails from objects that I stare at, almost as if the image follows after I’ve moved on.

All of this has had negative implications on my life. Before I was very outgoing, fearless, I loved to travel and try new things, and was very social. I now find it hard to enjoy things I once did. I’m afraid of doing simple things like going on day trips, work, or going to social gatherings. My floaters and VS are constantly in the back of my mind and they exacerbate my anxiety. I’m saddened that I can’t fully experience my sight and I’m afraid that perhaps one day it might be gone from me.

As of this month June 2017 I’ve now fallen into a pretty dark depression. I now get migraines nearly every day that have been on going for 11 days since writing this. My 5 year relationship with my gf has been greatly impacted and I’ve been let go of my job due to poor performance. I realize I’m not dying but internally I feel I have very little left.

I do my best to practice yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises as they do provide me with some relief with my anxiety and depression however it’s been extremely hard accepting there is no cure for my VS and I don’t do them as often as I should.

Any kind words or advise would be immensely appreciated.

To anyone who is suffering from this or knows anyone I’m truly so very sorry, my heart breaks for you and your loved ones. I feel like a caged animal, all I want to do is run free but this disease has me chained up and I could only imagine how hindering it must feel for young children suffering from this.

Sending my love,

Danny

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I wanted to tell Danny and others that I have had visual snow for at least 40 years. It bothers me more in low light, when I'm tired, under fluorescent lighting, and seems to get worse with stress. I'm sorry you are suffering and that it is affecting your life negatively. In my case, no one knew what it was (because it is thought to be very rare), and I learned to mostly ignore it, though it does bother me at times. I think doing meditation, yoga, mindfulness, or anything else that takes you away from the worry is a great idea. Maybe someday they will figure out effective treatments.

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@jcalifornia

I wanted to tell Danny and others that I have had visual snow for at least 40 years. It bothers me more in low light, when I'm tired, under fluorescent lighting, and seems to get worse with stress. I'm sorry you are suffering and that it is affecting your life negatively. In my case, no one knew what it was (because it is thought to be very rare), and I learned to mostly ignore it, though it does bother me at times. I think doing meditation, yoga, mindfulness, or anything else that takes you away from the worry is a great idea. Maybe someday they will figure out effective treatments.

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I am glad to hear you have found a remedy that works for you. Continue your methods for destressing. Seems to be a big help. The neuro ophthalmologist told me it didnt matter if I covered the eye causing the double vision so I learned by trial and error. I was told it was a brain issue and not an eye issue. That eye had become sensitive to light after my AVM. I covered the eye with a patch for over a month to avoid the double vision. In time, I discovered the longer I had the patch on, the snow in that eye increased and got worse. The snow was very bothersome so I decided to remove the patch. At first, the vision of snow was very strong in that eye but slowly it diminished and went away. I was so relieved. I now have both eyes uncovered and see no snow. My sensitivity to light is not as intense but it is still there. I prefer no snow over the sensitivity. It is much easier to deal with.

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Just wanted to let you all know that this discussion, "Visual snow," has now been moved to the Mayo Clinic Connect Eye Conditions group.

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Hi, all – several of you have mentioned experiencing "visual snow" or ocular migraines, and wanted to check in and see how things are going. I think your responses will be helpful to many here.

@ryman – are you still having ocular migraines? How is the blurriness in one eye you mentioned?

@avmcbellar – are you still free of the visual snow you previously experienced?

@jcalifornia – how is the snow you were having in your vision? Are the relaxation practices you talked about helping?

@suscros68 – how is your vision? Do you still experience the "winter storm" at times?

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@brownde

There is a condition called asteroid hyalosis which causes opaque floating particles in the vitreous, or “jelly” of the eye. These can cause some problems with vision if they are dense enough. I don’t think anyone would do surgery for this in a 12 year old. It’s basically like snow floating through the fluid. No other problems with it. I also am not familiar with the doctor’s from UCSF and recently worked in ophthalmology there. They may just be researchers

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This may be what is in my left eye. Thanks!

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Possible—some issue the Dr's cant address

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