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Do you have visual symptoms?


I’m curious to see how many of us have visual symptoms. I know @Space_Cadet has visual snow. So do I. Some days it’s hard to see anything else. I also have a range of other neurologically based visual symptoms such as positive and negative refractory images, colored stars and dots that sometimes flash, rotate or pulsate, a general tendency to have my vision go purple, auras and then the occasional true migraine aura with scintillating scotoma. And photosensitivity. I have unilateral tinnitus, too, but that for me is the result of trauma, not necessarily the visual stuff. Tinnitus is often correlated with the visual issues. Some theorize the visual stuff is a form of tinnitus affecting the visual cortex.

So, anybody else living with constant static and/or a light show?


I always have visual snow. Sometimes worse than others, but I remember it’s been a constant since at least early childhood for me. I’ve had a couple of scintillating scotoma. And I definitely have photosensitivity. I also see movement in the edge of my vision a lot, and I often have strong afterimages in my sight.


Yeah Em, that’s my experience, too. I wonder if it’s just you, me and Space Cadet that were gifted with this extra layer.


I’ve had one in my lifetime. I actually quite enjoyed the experience once I realised what was going on and stopped freaking out … was an interesting insight into how the body works! (and thankfully was not accompanied by any pain before, during or after).


I only got this crappy visual snow and black floaters since getting VM last June 2017. Seems like static in the brain giving off misinformation. Past week has sucked for it including headaches since it’s been constant storms over and over in New England. The imbalance has become a lot less tho and I’ve begun to get 1-2 minute showers again, so that’s an upside.


I wondered at your absence. I hope you feel better soon. Personally I’m having a hands shaking, world rocking, blinding snow storm sort of day coming off a very public neurological storm yesterday at a conference. Yeah!!

I’m supposed to work on a screen doing technical work towards a major proposal all weekend. I guess I should have taken up a more conducive profession, like blanket quality control reviewer.


I also get visual symptoms. I can wake up with blurred vision in one eye or develop it in both eyes over the day, usually after a lot of computer usage or television. Or just during bad headaches the blurred vision acts up. During blurred vision I also see afterimages sometimes, and occasionally see movement at the corner of my eye. Visual vertigo is a huge symptom for me as well, a lot of things appear to be moving that aren’t. I have eye pain almost daily. Definitely photo-sensitivity, majorly.


That sounds painfully familiar. Sorry.


thanks. sorry to hear you have it too.


I usually wake up from blurred vision or double vision and it disappears within 10 secs. I dont know if i would put this under visual vertigo but at work at my desk, the sun creates this shadow on the left side of my cubicle and i know its just a shadow but i always think its a solid wall right next to me which is weird.


That one I’d put under the ‘edge of your vision hallucination’ category. Visual vertigo for me is a much more visceral, nauseating experience my VRT likes to exploit regularly.


i have LOADS:

  • very occasional full visual aura, with scintillating scotoma, 50% blindness, etc, lasting 20-30 mins (no headache)
  • very often have ‘flashing lights’ where i see spots or flashes of colour, usually within 24hrs of a MAV episode starting
  • very often have after images, and slow fading retina images after looking at bright objects/lights
  • when my MAV was really bad, i had horrible photophobia lasting 2-3 months, like i couldn’t open the curtains and had to wear sunglasses inside the house. it was HORRIBLE. it tended to improve as the day went on, but it would take me like an hour to get out of the house, gradually getting used to the light. i went everywhere with hat and dark glasses back then. i looked like a real freak, i can assure you. some days i couldn’t go out at all.
  • when MAV was beginning, everything looked too bright and all the colours looked much too colourful, like i was on drugs or something. and everything looked kind of out of shape.
  • on good days now i can deal with driving down a wooded road with the sun shining through the trees. on a bad day, it just sets me off, like somebody’s shining a strobe at me.

btw i have tinnitus too, and it goes up on bad MAV days and down on good days. IMHO it’s just another manifestation of the whole thing. my tinnitus is more constant than the visuals though, as in it’s always there, sometimes loud, sometimes quite, but never gone. whereas the visuals definitely come and go.


My sister told me to never take hallucinogenics, as they would be a waste of good drugs I could share with somebody else!


I often wear a hat and sunglasses to the grocery store. The stares I can handle. It’s when the staff looks all chipper and says, ‘How are you today? Having a good day?’ I’m all like, umm … can you see me, do I look ok to you? And then, AH, please stop following me. I will pay for my food.


Yes! I consider my visual disturbances just as bad as my motion sensitivity - the two symptoms that pain me the most.

For me it’s mostly movement/waving on the peripheral part of my vision especially with patterns. anything with a lot of contrast is hard. reading on the computer. flourescent lights. ive had aura a handful of times (this is how i was actually diagnosed with mav). looking at stripes is especially hard. i occasionally get flashes/stars/black spots.

does anyone know more about this? any medications seem to help with it more than others? and why is it on the periphery of vision instead of right in front of it?


I’ve seen 5-6 listed drugs, depending on the research article. Some are more common migraine drugs; others aren’t. I’m seeing a neuro-ophthalmologist in June for exactly the symptoms you’ve listed except mine also includes visual snow and other things in the center of my vision as well. We’ll see what he says.


@flutters No visual snow, not as yet but yes, I can pick up on your ‘photosensitivity’ and have often wondered how many MAVers suffer with photosensitivity. Surprised it doesn’t feature as a User Poll.

Over the last few years I’ve read everything I could find about photosensitivity. There’s not that much out there really. It’s pretty much diagnostic of and synonymous with straight migraine but doesn’t seem to get much mention. Can only assume only the severely affected tend to mention it. Well you can add me to the count. I’ve had it about as severely as it can get I’d imagine. Sunglasses and hats/tennis visors indoors. Living behind closed curtains. Living like a mole and creeping out for exercise once the sun sets like a vampire.

I’m a three years since 24/7 spinning MAVer, (episodic MAV hit at menopause but no headaches Since puberty) so the photosensitivity ‘just’ increases the feeling of nausea and ramps up the dizziness. Very rarely a slight stabbing pain in one or the other eye. Just for a second or two. I do use either drops or a warm compress daily in case Dry Eye is aggravating it.

For me light is both cause and effect. A main trigger. I think it was the daytime mixed light in a restaurant that finally tipped my episodic attacks over into the 24/7 state. Ironic really … I was dining with the Tai Chi group I had joined, err… in order to improve my balance!

Light sensitivity was pretty much the last symptom to appear when I was having acute attacks. Initially it would only occur during acute attacks which were for years well spaced. Certainly since I’ve had 24/7 symptoms it’s there all the time although the severity varies day to day.

Like you I tackle supermarkets with wraparound sunglasses and a brimmed hat but everybody has been so nice. I don’t think I’ve ever had a stare yet alone a comment, the only exception being a dog walking friend of ours who always says “here she comes, with her sunglasses” and who I continue (to try) to like. As I walk with a stick (that’s MAV again) I’m always expecting someone to suggest I get an Assistance Dog but nobody has, yet.

My photosensitivity has improved gradually quite alot. Either the Propranol is helping or Maybe my hormones are reaching some sort of truce with the migraine at last.


A big chunk of the MAV demographic is perimenopausal women. I keep hoping menopause will come around and fix this, too.

I read the more dark adapted you get, the more photosensitive you become. I try to brave out the light and increase my threshold, but not so far I trigger a migraine. Sometimes that means just leaving the curtains open.


Thread hijack here… Ha, ha, menopause doesn’t fix anything. Just provides new “opportunities.” In my case that meant a vertebral compression fracture last year… from coughing!


Anna, don’t you take away my hope! :wink: