Is tinnitus associated with visual snow

Visual snow - Visual snow

Visual snow syndrome
other names Persistently positive visual phenomenon, visual statics, aeropsy
Animated example of visual snow-like noise
specialty Neurology, neuro-ophthalmology
Symptoms Statics and auras in vision, palinopsia, entoptic phenomenon of the blue field, nyctalopia, tinnitus
Complications Poor quality of vision, photophobia, heliophobia, depersonalization and derealization
Usual beginning Early to middle adulthood
causes Unknown hyperexcitability of neurons and processing problems in the visual cortex
Risk factors Migraine sufferers
Differential diagnosis Migraine aura, persistent aura without infarction, hallucinogen-persistent perception disorder
medication Anticonvulsants (limited evidence and success)
frequency Unusual

Visual snow , also as called visual statics , is a condition in which people see white or black dots or transparent dots in part or in the entire field of view. The condition is usually always present and can last for years.

The cause of visible snow is unclear. People typically also have migraines. The underlying mechanism is believed to be that excessive excitability of neurons in the right involves the lingual gyrus and left cerebellar anterior lobe of the brain.

Research has been limited due to case identification and diagnosis issues, which are now largely addressed, and the limited size of a cohort studied. Initial studies of functional brain imaging suggest that visual snow is a brain disorder.

Medications that can be used to treat the condition include lamotrigine, acetazolamide, or verapamil. However, these do not always lead to advantages.

Signs and symptoms

Clear vision versus impaired vision

People report seeing "snow", much like the visual noise or "static" on a television screen after the broadcast ends. In a 2010 study, Raghaven et al. Hypothesis that what patients see as "snow" is intrinsic gray.

Many report more visual snow in low light. There is a natural explanation for this. "The intrinsic dark noise of primate cones corresponds to ~ 4000 photons absorbed per second at medium light levels; below this, the cone signals are dominated by intrinsic noise."

In addition to visual snow, many of those affected have other types of visual impairment such as starbursts, increased afterimages, swimmers, trails, and many others.

Psychological side effects of visual snow can be depersonalization, derealization, depression, photophobia and heliophobia in the person concerned.


Migraines and migraines with aura are common comorbidities. However, comorbid migraines exacerbate some of the additional visual symptoms and tinnitus associated with "visual snow" syndrome. This could affect research studies of patients with migraines who are more likely to participate in the study because of more severe symptoms than patients without migraines. In contrast to migraines, the comorbidity of the typical migraine aura does not seem to aggravate symptoms.

Patients with visual "snow" have normal equivalent input noise levels and contrast sensitivity.


The causes are unclear. The underlying mechanism is believed to involve excessive excitability of neurons within the cortex of the brain, particularly the right lingual gyrus and left cerebellar anterior lobes of the brain.

Another mechanism is thalamocortical dysrhythmia of the visual tract similar to tinnitus, which is thalamocortical dysrhythmia of the auditory tract.

Persistent visual snow can be a major cause of a migraine complication known as persistent non-infarct aura, commonly referred to as persistent migraine aura (PMA). In other clinical sub-forms of migraine headache may be absent and the migraine aura may not take the typical shape of the zigzag enrichment spectrum ( scintillating scotoma ) but manifests itself with a variety of focal neurological symptoms.

The role of hallucinogens in visual snow is not clear. Hallucinogenic persistent cognitive disorder (HPPD), a condition caused by hallucinogenic drug use, is sometimes associated with visual snow, but both the association of visual snow with HPPD and the cause and prevalence of HPPD are controversial. Most of the evidence for both is generally anecdotal and subject to the headlight fallacy.


Suggested Diagnostic Criteria for "Visual Snow" Syndrome:

It can also be diagnosed through PET scanning.


There is no established treatment for visual snow. It is difficult to resolve visual snow with treatment, but it is possible to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life through treatment.

Medications that can be used include lamotrigine, acetazolamide, or verapamil, but they don't always produce benefits.


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