Author: Vanessa Mora
Role: Director of Research at VSI
In my recent conversation with Simon Saryazdi, a doctoral researcher in the Department of Psychology at the University of Sussex is currently creating a Visual Snow Syndrome (VSS) scale. The scale will indicate symptom severity and will be the foundation for future research.
Other scales can also assess patients’ traits and states, such as the Patient Quality Questionnaire and the Visual Functioning Questionnaire. However, the Visual Snow Syndrome Scale incorporates illustrations and animations. Hence, patients can distinguish the symptoms they are experiencing.
How does it work?
Simon gives an example: “There are 50 questions, scored from one to five, a patient could score a minimum of 0 up to a maximum of 250.” Essentially there can be a calculation conducted through clinical trials to define a diagnostic cutoff point to be diagnosed with VSS, as well as a differential cutting point to be diagnosed with HPPD.
According to Simon, everyone’s brain is different; therefore, VSS traits may be associated with other psychophysical types. Using the Visual Snow Syndrome scale in combination with psychophysical attributes allows researchers to correlate this. For example, a patient with Visual Snow Syndrome has a differential sensitivity to motion, providing the participant with a task to locate randomly moving dots. We can correlate those scores with the scale results based on their visual system sensitivity. Overall, certain patients with specific symptoms may perform differently on psychophysical experiments or brain scans, and potentially they can respond differently to a treatment.