Diagnostic Criteria

& Visual Symptoms

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If you suspect you may have Visual Snow Syndrome, please print this out and/or show it to your doctor.

  • A.      Dynamic, continuous, tiny dots across the entire visual field, persisting for more than three months
  • B.      Additional visual symptoms of at least two of the following four types:
    1.       Palinopsia (persistent recurrence of a visual image and/or trailing images after the stimulus has been removed)
    2.       Enhanced entoptic phenomena*
    3.       Photophobia (sensitivity or intolerance of light, which can cause some people to avoid sunlight, computers, fluorescent lights and car headlights)
    4.       Nyctalopia (impaired night vision)
  • C.      Symptoms are not consistent with typical migraine visual aura
  • D.      Symptoms are not better accounted for by another disorder

*excessive floaters in both eyes, excessive blue field entoptic phenomenon (uncountable little grey/white/black dots or rings shooting over the visual field of both eyes when looking at homogeneous bright surfaces such as the blue sky), self-lighting of the eye (colored waves or clouds perceived when closing the eyes in the dark) and spontaneous photopsia (bright flashes of light).


Visual Symptoms: 

  • Snow-like dots all over the field of vision
  • Small floating objects or flashing lights
  • Sensitivity to light (Photophobia)
  • Continuing to see an image after it is no longer in the field of vision (Palinopsia)
  • Seeing images within the eye itself (Entopic phenomena)
  • Other visual effects such as starburst, halos, and double vision (Diplopia)

Non-Visual Symptoms: 

  • Ringing, humming, or buzzing sounds (Tinnitus)
  • Feeling detached from yourself (Depersonalization)
  • Symptoms of anxiety and/or depression
  • Frequent migraines, brain fog, and confusion
  • Dizziness and nausea
  • Insomnia and other sleep-related issues
  • Tingling sensations in legs and arms, accompanied by general pain throughout body

Peter Goadsby, MD PhD
Professor of Neurology, King’s College London

Owen White, MD PhD FRACP
Professor of Neurosciences, Monash University, Australia

Victoria Susan Pelak, MD
Professor of Neurology and Ophthalmology, University of Colorado, Denver

Yasser Khan, MD FRCSC
Oculoplastic, Orbital and Ophthalmic Surgery

The Visual Snow Initiative website is for informational purposes only. The contents do not constitute medical advice; the content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. This website does not recommend or endorse any specific tests, physicians, products, procedures, opinions, or other information that may be mentioned on the Site. Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk.

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