How common is visual snow syndrome in the UK?

  • Kondziella D & al.
  • Eur J Neurol
  • 30 Jan 2020

  • curated by Pavankumar Kamat
  • UK Medical News
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A new study highlights the epidemiology of a recently described neurologic condition known as visual snow syndrome (VSS) in the UK population. The condition is typically characterised by continuous perception of tiny flickering dots appearing in the complete visual field, which visually resembles snow in the air or television static.

Researchers conducted an online survey in a representative sample of 1015 adults from the UK, matched for age, gender and ethnicity. The unprimed participants were asked about the 'frequency of certain medical conditions' but not VSS.

Symptoms compatible with visual snow were reported in 3.7 per cent of patients, and criteria for VSS was met by 2.2 per cent. Individuals with VSS were likely older than the cohort mean, but the difference was not statistically significant (P=.06). Among those with VSS, 72.7 per cent had mood symptoms, 54.5 per cent had headache, 22.7 per cent had visual migraine aura and 59.1 per cent had tinnitus. After adjusting for age and gender, only the association between VSS and tinnitus remained significant (OR, 3.93; 95% CI, 1.63-9.9; P=.003).

Writing in the European Journal of Neurology, the authors said: "Visual snow syndrome is very unlikely to be a progressive disorder. We suggest that reassuring information can be given to those seeking medical attention for visual snow syndrome."