Original article published here:

https://headachejournal.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/head.14213

Objective

The aim of this narrative review is to explore the relationship between visual snow syndrome (VSS), migraine, and a group of other perceptual disorders.

Background

VSS is characterized by visual snow and additional visual and nonvisual disturbances. The clinical picture suggests a hypersensitivity to internal and external stimuli. Imaging and electrophysiological findings indicate a hyperexcitability of the primary and secondary visual areas of the brain possibly due to an impairment of inhibitory feedback mechanisms. Migraine is the most frequent comorbidity. Epidemiological and clinical studies indicate that other perceptual disorders, such as tinnitus, fibromyalgia, and dizziness, are associated with VSS. Clinical overlaps and parallels in pathophysiology might exist in relation to migraine.

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“Ten years ago, in 2012, we presented work at a neurology meeting systematically describing why Visual Snow was not simply migraine aura and was a distinct disease entity. This was not received with universal acclaim, to say the least. In the intervening period, visual snow has come in from the medical ‘cold’ and is being studied actively by a number of groups on three continents. The recognition of the condition, broadening education, and funding research would not have happened were it not for the Visual Snow Initiative. I realize to the many with this often very disabling condition that it seems nothing has or is being done. Progress to treatment is never fast enough nor advances to recognition and understanding. With that said, visual snow research would be idling in a backwater where it not the Initiative. Going forward, we need to double, re-double, and re-double again our efforts for the search for effective treatments and, one day, a cure. Thank you for the Visual Snow Initiative for all you have done and continue to do.”

— Peter Goadsby, MD, PhD, DSc, Professor of Neurology, UCLA, Awarded 2021 Brain Prize

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