Overview of Visual Snow Syndrome

>  Overview of Visual Snow Syndrome

Information About VSS

What is Visual Snow Syndrome?

Visual Snow Syndrome (VSS) is a neurological disorder that impacts an individual’s vision, hearing, cognition, sensory processing, and quality of life. VSS causes individuals to process visual information abnormally. But it also encompasses an array of debilitating visual and non-visual symptoms. Symptoms of the disorder impact an estimated 2-3% of the world’s population. People of all ages and backgrounds worldwide are affected by VSS daily.

Academics and researchers have identified measurable differences in the brains of those with VSS. Data has also revealed that VSS symptoms are not a manifestation of anxiety and depression. Instead, the debilitating nature of VSS symptoms coupled with the medical community’s historic marginalization of VSS patients can profoundly and negatively impact their mental health. VSS is a distinct neurological disorder that entails both visual and non-visual symptoms.

Symptoms of VSS

The primary symptom of VSS is seeing visual snow, which can be described as seeing static, flickering dots, and flashing lights 24/7 (with your eyes both open and closed). Some describe it as trying to see in the middle of a snowstorm or through a snow globe that has been shaken up. However, VSS entails more than just seeing visual snow. People with VSS also commonly experience many other debilitating visual and non-visual symptoms, such as palinopsia, photophobia, tinnitus, paresthesia, anxiety, depression, depersonalization, and insomnia. The appearance, intensity, and degree of impact these symptoms can range from mild to life-altering, depending on the person.

Learn more about VSS

 Please use the following link to access our Diagnostic Criteria for Visual Snow Syndrome (to share with your doctor, etc.), as well as a more comprehensive list of symptoms.

Causes of VSS

The exact cause of VSS is still unknown. Research suggests it is related to changes in the visual processing centers of the brain, as well as alterations in the neural signals between the eyes and the brain. The origin of VSS has also been linked to hyperactivity in the visual cortex of the brain. Research into the causes of VSS is ongoing and increasing day by day.

Latest News & Research

Here, our team will share the latest news regarding the Visual Snow Initiative, research/project updates, as well as any additional information related to our global efforts to better understand and treat Visual Snow Syndrome.

Diagnosing VSS

Historically, it has been challenging for people with VSS to receive an accurate diagnosis. Optometric and ophthalmological examinations typically yield “normal” results. Neuro-ophthalmologists and neurologists are best equipped to address VSS, including some ophthalmologists and optometrists who are certified in the management/treatment of VSS symptoms.

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