A few kinds of visual disturbance common with migraine aura

 Papanague [subject #46], Disturbed "visual snow" vision, 2006. © 2006 Papanague

Papanague [subject #46], Disturbed “visual snow” vision, 2006. © 2006 Papanague

Most of the time at least part of my visual field is continuous TV-static-like tiny flickering dots. Sometimes it expands to cover my entire visual field. This is officially called visual snow. I always thought it was part of my migraines. Perhaps it is. But it turns out that visual snow can occur independently of migraine. If you do have visual snow and migraine aura, this increases your likelihood for a whole host of fun visual weirdnesses!


  • palinopsia: the persistence or recurrence of a visual image after the stimulus has been removed
  • spontaneous photopsia: the presence of perceived flashes of light when nothing is actually happening?
  • photophobia: THE LIGHT IT BURNS
  • nyctalopia: night blindness

I get all of these except the night blindness. Luckily, most are non-existent to background noise outside of a migraine, though the visual snow gets annoying fast when I try to meditate. If I focus on it the wrong way, it gives me a migraine :/

Any visual snow, etc with your migraine?

Headache. 2014 Jun;54(6):957-66. The relation between migraine, typical migraine aura and “visual snow”. Schankin CJ, Maniyar FH, Sprenger T, Chou DE, Eller M, Goadsby PJ.


  1. Kim says:

    I am needing some advice everyone I know knows nothing about visual snow let me give you my story and will you please tell me what you think let me start by saying I’m a life long suffer of panic anxiety and ocd ocd becomes horrible with thoughts when I’m anxious so here’s whats happening. A year ago I had a ocular migraine throwing me into full blown panic and ocd for this whole year I’ve been to the eye dr more times then I can count what they found was nearsighted farsighted astigmatisms and dry eye and floaters that’s it so after my migraine I freaked out and obsessed with everything with my vision from this to that one issue will pass after I find another to obsess about now a few months ago I woke up and look at my ceiling and noticed a weird group of brown specks I thought well that’s weird but went on my day or days but I noticed it would come back after a few days went back to eye dr again they did every test known everything was fine well I googled what I thought I was seeing and a few things came up including visual snow I knew nothing of this or seen anything like this but convinced myself I have it to the point where I spent 2 days looking for what I thought the snow was like a little spots of snow until I found it freaked out and thought I experienced everything else when in fact I have nothing but this wierd static stuff when I first open my eyes in the morning and I have to close one eye then the other to see it on a white ceiling or dark wall then it subsides I don’t have the constant static I see the light spits of snow when I’m looking for it usually when one eyes closed ect I had to start seeing a psychologist because of it he diagnosed me with trauma anxiety panic ect I got to where I blocked out the “snow” then I had an panic attack and I started focusing on seeing it again googling about it until low and behold it’s back I can’t unsee what I’ve seen unfortunately I spoke to a specialist at the rare disease centers and told her everything I’m telling you know and she said it wasn’t visual snow more of a anxiety ocd issues sounded like I spoke to someone who has it on a Facebook page he told me good news he said you don’t have it it’s your anxiety but I can’t convince myself I don’t have it our minds are very powerful and it’s tricked me into seeing things or feeling a certain way for a lifetime So I would love any advice I want to put this to rest and move on with my life

    • sarcozona says:

      Hi Kim, This sounds really hard and I’m sorry you’re so scared and distracted and distressed! I read from your comment that 1) You are seeing some visual distortions of some kind 2) you have ocular migraine sometimes which could be responsible for the visual distortion 3) there is nothing physically and dangerously wrong that could be causing the visual distortion 4) the visual distortion is really distracting and scary for you.

      I don’t know if you’re seeing visual snow or not, but I don’t think it matters exactly what it is! I think it’s ok to accept that whatever it is is there and acknowledge that, whatever it is, it’s not dangerous. You don’t have to be scared of it or what it means. Based on what you’ve told me in this comment, if I were you, I would work with my psychologist or therapist on strategies to learn to be comfortable with the visual snow so that eventually it fades from my conscious attention most of the time.

      Best of luck.

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