Meet Our

Warrior of the Week

These inspiring individuals with Visual Snow Syndrome are sharing their experiences living with this condition and how they try their best to overcome its symptoms everyday.

Spotlight on:

James Janik

I’ve had visual snow for about 5 years. Like most stories I hear, I had a very sudden onset of symptoms. One day, while taking a walk at work, I looked up at the sky and saw all these twinkling white and colorful streak marks going all around my vision. That’s what I came to know as blue field entoptic phenomenon. I had already experienced floaters for a few years prior to that since I had a retina injury and required laser surgery. Upon that day when I was walking, my floaters became more severe pretty much overnight. It was very scary. The symptoms that affect me the most are the floaters. My visual snow is very faint and transparent; it seems to be more prominent in low light situations.

Visual snow has taught me how to adapt. I use high contrast mode on my computers to block the floaters, and I wear Spectron 4 sunglasses made by Julbo whenever I go outside. They really do a great job of masking the floaters and pretty much negate the blue field phenomenon. Also, acupuncture has helped my floaters go from dark, large, and opaque to smaller and almost completely transparent.

One thing I have been able to key in on is that my VSS affects me in a more episodic way. I’ll go a few months or a year with it not really affecting me. Then all of a sudden, I’ll see this weird colorful spot in my vision that only shows itself on straight lines such as the edge of the TV or the mirror. It usually shows up in the top right corner of my right eye. It’ll hang around for a month or two, and then it’ll just disappear. When I have this spot in my vision, all my other symptoms seem to become more intense. Then, when the spot goes away, my floaters calm down, and I go back to my baseline. I’m interested to hear if anyone else has this happen to them.

The interesting thing to me about visual snow is the mysterious onset that seemingly comes out of nowhere, and the diversity in which people perceive it. I don’t think I’ve heard two VSS stories that are identical. It leads me to believe there are far more than one cause. I get comfort from knowing I am not the only person with VSS, and I love that the Visual Snow Initiative is out there doing all of this great work and research. I am hopeful that one day we will understand what causes this and how to minimize the impact on those who have it.

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