Persistent Migraine Aura & Visual Snow (Part One) (Last Edited: 2009 Nov 19)

2008 September 27

This is part one of a three part series on persistent aura without infarction, also called persistent migraine aura (PMA), and on visual snow (VS).

You can continue to part two from the link at the bottom of this page. Or you can jump to any part from the PMA & Visual Snow FAQs page link.

In this series I have used reputable sources for the science of persistent aura and visual snow. I’ll include the sources in the final post.

What is Persistent Migraine Aura?

Persistent migraine aura, or PMA, used to be called prolonged migraine aura status. Its proper diagnostic name is persistent aura without infarction. “Without infarction” means without the death of brain cells (or other cells). It is a little understood medical condition. Its cause, called its pathogenesis, is unknown. This means that it is not known how its symptoms are caused. It is also not known what medical examinations are useful in diagnosing PMA. Though at least one medical site says:

  • Description: Aura symptoms persisting more than one week without radiographic evidence of infarction,
  • Diagnostic criteria: (A) The present attack in a patient with 1.2 Migraine* with aura is typical of previous attacks except that one or more aura symptoms persist for more than one week, and (B) Not attributed to another disorder.

*”1.2 Migraine” means migraine with aura under today’s medical diagnostic criteria, the IHS Members Handbook (1997/1998). See the sources list at the end of this post for a download location. The International Headache Society (IHS) now classifies it as type 1.5.3.

Neurological symptoms that can be associated with PMA include:

  • Visual snow,
  • Vision loss,
  • Increased afterimages,
  • Tinnitus,
  • and others.

Medication that has been tried for treatment includes:

  • acetazolamide (also called Diamox),
  • valproate (also called valproic acid, sodium valproate or Epilim),
  • lamotrigine (also called Lamictal, Lamogine or Lamictin),
  • topiramate (also called Topamax),
  • furosemide (also called frusemide or Lasix).

This, from PubMed the USA’s National Institute of Health, says something of the current state of understanding:

“To the best of our knowledge, persistent visual symptoms, lasting months or years without evidence of infarction, a rare complication of migraine with aura, has been reported in only 20 patients. We report the case of a 43-year-old woman with a 31-year history of migraine with typical visual aura. At presentation, she experienced a visual aura in her right hemifield followed by a pulsating headache. The visual symptoms persisted.”

It is my experience, from my own research and talking on forums, this laughably underestimates the prevalence of persistent aura. Though another record did conclude:

“This case {of hemiplegic migraine} illustrates the potential for permanent neurological deficits to occur as a sequelae {sic} of HM in the absence of infarction, and highlights potentially important pathophysiological and treatment implications.”

A third says:

“Migraine with aura is a common disorder in industrialised countries, affecting up to 5% of the adult population. Although migraine aura is usually a benign disorder, in rare instances it can be the cause of serious neurologic {sic} complications … Other complications are … persistent auras without infarction. These disorders are of both clinical and scientific interest, as they throw light on the complex and not yet fully understood relationship between migraine with aura, stroke and epilepsy.”

Go on to Part 2


  1. From my experience (I practice in headache medicine) the best treatments for this condition are Topamax and valproic acid which most people (not everyone) respond to. Lamictal is not used and has little effect on headache type profiles, which this is classified under.

    Migraine with aura is different from prolonged aura. Here the aura is classic 15-30 min. The worry is if the aura is outside the headache phase or lasts longer than one hour. Then we start worring about mini (or bigger) strokes.

    Keep in mind that those on forums are the ones with severe pain or problems..the majority of migraineurs are well managed and go about their lives ..luck them!

    Prolonged aura is rare..but not unheard of. I see a couple of cases per year and usually after they have had the full hospital work up.. which is usually quite normal..sigh.

  2. Thank you for your insight, Mary Kay. It’s always good when a practitioner comments.

    Personally, I’m a little concerned when you mention strokes! I had an MRI scan in 1998 when I had what was later identified as migraine (in my left eye). But not since the onset of these new persistent visual aura. That said, the visual symptoms that persist are not those (usually photophobia and scintillating scotoma) when I have a hemiplegic attack. Though one or more of them can increase during an attack.

    As you say, not everyone is the same when it comes to medication. Topiramate (Topamax) actually seems to have triggered a prolonged migraine attack for me and hallucination on coming off as a result. Not pleasant! Epilim (valproic acid) may be reducing the frequency of my migraines (and other headache I have from another condition). So far it only seems to have stopped the visual snow for a few minutes.

    Take care.

  3. I am just like the 43 year old lady in the study. I am also 43 and have been suffering from migraines since I was 15 years old. Twelve years ago, one of my pupils dilated and stayed that way for about 5 hours. It went away and happened again 3 days later. After MRI’s and tests, it was determined that I did not have any brain issues. I was left with visual snow that I cope with on a daily basis. It is worse when in the dark and in rooms with solid white walls. I am barely able to drive at night. I have given up on physicians to help me although I am glad to see that there are some treatments out there. I have left several physicians offices in tears and these are men that work at research hospitals at large universities. I would welcome a Dr. that would take me seriously.

  4. Hi, Gloria,

    I think I’ve been lucky in that I have a forward thinking GP, though only after changing several times. He quickly recognised persistent aura once I brought my “homework” to him.

    My headache/migraine specialist is also aware of the condition. I recently wrote to him, including an update of the diagnosis of persistent aura. He sums up the state of medical knowledge pretty much in the same way:-

    Persistent aura generally is a well recognised condition (but opinion varies on how commonplace it is),
    But medical science doesn’t know the cause or treatment very well,
    But there are researchers trying to break it down and understand it.

    I don’t drive, but I too cannot imagine being able to drive at night. I hope that in time medicine learns more about the conditions, and that you find a doctor who can help you.

  5. hi everyone.
    I am twenty years old and have had migraines with aura since I was about twelve years old, and it wasn’t until maybe three years ago that I started noticing changes in my vision such as visual snow, trails(especially with bright objects), longer after images, and a generally spacey or trippy vision 24/7. I told my doctor about this and she prescribed my elavil. After a couple weeks I found it was not making my symtpoms any better and after doing research I found that there wasn’t and website clarifying elavil as a proper treatment. I also found out that elavil is also and anti depressant. I was wondering if it was likely that my doctor didn’t beleive me and thought that I just had mental issues and prescribed me a medication to keep me in check. I noticed that everyone else has had a lot of hospital work done on their brains and my doctor didn’t even hint that we should give that a try. If somebody could please give me some insight on my problem because if its important that a get an MRI or something like that I want to know and bring it to my doctors attention

  6. Hi, Rick,

    Elavil is a brand name for amitriptyline, which can be prescribed for various pain conditions including frequent migraine [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elavil]. Like most or all of the drugs used at the moment to treat migraine conditions, it was originally developed for other conditions. In this case, amitriptyline was developed as an anti-depressant. But if you’re worried about Elavil for any reason, you’d probably be best to talk about it with your doctor.

    You’ll find that medicine has divided opinion over the exact way migraine works. I’ve tried to put together what I could find out, not being a medical practitioner, in my Saturday Series on migraines. You can find the links from the “Migraine FAQs” tab at the top of this blog. I’ve done the same for visual snow and PMA – the links are on the “Visual Snow and PMA FAQs” tab. Again, there is debate in medical science over PMA and it seems not so much yet on visual snow specifically. Any medical people who read my blog may know more on this.

    I think most people go down the route of having lots of (expensive) hospital work-ups only to draw a blank. Again, though, if you’re concerned about this you’d probably best talk with your doctor. You can find links to reputable sites that have medical facts in my two Saturday Series on migraines and PMA & visual snow.

    On the two FAQs pages, you’ll find links to online support forums where you may get more answers than here. But if anyone reading my blog does have any insights, I’m very happy to receive comments. Please note that I moderate all comments, so there will be a delay before they get approved.

    I hope you (and I!) find the cure to our migraine and PMA ills.

  7. Hello everyone,

  8. hello everyone,
    I left out a some details of my migraine condition in my above comment because I was unsure if they were appropriate but I feel like everyone here is responsible enough to make their own choices so here it goes. For those of you who cant seem to keep their migraines under control this is for you. Although I still have aura without infarction, I haven’t had a migraine in over a year, and the last one I had was a year later than the last. Before that I would say I would get a migraine headache ( with aura) about every three months. I will safely say that the reason the frequency of my migraines decreased was from habitual use of marijuana. I know some of you may have conflicting feelings about marijuana but hear me out if you care enough to lessen or even eliminate your migraines. Before this gap in my migraines I barely ever smoked marijuana. Than I guess I started to smoke it atleast once every other night. This was also partly to help me fall asleep as I suffer from insomnia also. Once I started this phase I didn’t have one migriane for about a year through my steady cannabis use. Than I remember that I decided to quit smoking out of the blue. I went on with this for a few weeks when I had my first migraine in a year. I thought nothing of it and then I got another migraine a few months later. Around this time I then started on with my habitual cannabis use again not assosiated it with my migraines or lack thereof. It’s been a year and I haven’t had a migraine although I do still have aura without infarction. I have found there is sufficant proof that steady marijuana use does prevent migraines. If you care to do some research I guarintee that you will find information on this very quickly. I don’t condown any kind of drug use but I beleive everyone has the freedom as a human being to do drugs if they choose. I have found that marijuana has pretty much cured my migraines and if you are curious enough than I suggest you ignore what everyone else says about it and use the freedom and liberties you were born with to form your own opinion about such things. I hope that you can look past any predjudices or assumptions you have and give my method a try because I honestly believe that it works and there is research to prove it. thank you and please comment.

  9. Hi, Rick,

    When I get back to blogging here from Saturday (15th), I’m going to do some research on this I think. I’m particularly interested in finding out:-
    1. Whether there are scientific double blind trials of specific ingredients in cannabis (such as its active ingredient) with regard to migraine,
    2. Whether cannabis use is linked positively or negatively with migraine (i.e., is shown in scientific studies to be associated with increase in migraine or decrease in migraine),
    3. Whether cannabis use is linked to the later onset of HPPD.

    I would be grateful if you or anyone who knows of online sources that are available to the general public (e.g., not restricted to paid subscribers to academic sites) and by reputable sources if you could e-mail me privately with a list of such sources. I think some logical research into this may be of help to my readers.

    In the meantime, I feel that I should point out that of course cannabis use in some countries (including my own) is illegal. Although I have allowed this comment for discussion purposes, I condemn the breaking of the law in any form. Those taking or thinking of taking cannabis, or any other recreational drug legal or illegal, should research the side-effect and long-term effects. Some psychoactive drugs have been shown to start HPPD – a set of symptoms that are related to persistent migraine aura. You may want to visit my “PMA & Visual Snow FAQs” page for help finding out more.

  10. Hi All,

    I came across this article on persistent aura which interests me a lot because for the past six months have had this kind of “aura” in the periphery of my left visual field.

    This never occured before.

    I went to a my ophtalmologist who is extremely good and meticulous. He checked my retina and all seemed normal. Later I had a visual field test and an IVFA taken. Results were normal in both cases.

    Now I feel a little bit frustrated and scared as well. Scared because there might be something which may not be so evident, hence the negative test results and frustrated because it drives you crazy. It’s there 24 x 7.

    Any ideas?

    Thank you.

    • Hi, Robert,

      If you click on the link to the PMA & Visual Snow FAQs page and scroll down, you’ll find links to support sites. From what you’ve written, the visual snow one may be the most helpful: https://porillion.wordpress.com/pma-visual-snow-faqs/

      From what I’ve learnt, and including in my own experience, (bearing in mind I’m not medically qualified) it’s quite common for these kinds of examinations to find nothing. Visual snow seems to be a relatively “new” phenomenon to medical science. But in most cases it is benign in itself and most often associated with an underlying migraine condition or with previous drug use. Only a small number of cases seem to relate to MS. I’d suggest seeing your GP (family doctor), but you may need to gather some evidence to bring to him about visual snow and migraine. Hopefully the series I wrote (again accessible from the FAQs pages) will help you find sources, together with the support sites. It is quite common for people who have persistent aura to be upset by them, even though they’re usually harmless.

      Take care.

  11. I am 28 years old. When I was 24 i gave birth to my son. I suffered from PPD, which the doctor prescribed Effexor. After a little over a year, we felt I was ready to come off of it. Afer tapering off the meds, about six months later, I had my first issue. I was driving and spaced out for about thirty mins. After I came to, I had a mild anxiety attack. Then another one a few weeks later and so on. Then I noticed my vision wasnt right ( visual snow). Over the course of four years, I have pretty much been housebound. I cant drive due to VS, derealization, and vertigo. All are symptoms of PMA. I have been put on every antidepressant, migrane, and vertigo med out there, which had made the symptoms much worse. I have started tapering off the effexor (again) and have seen improvement. The VS is much less defined since I have added Omega 3 supplements. I have heard good news with Vit. B supplements for the anxiety and derealization issues. Maybe oneday I can be semi normal. I loved to drive and travel. Now I have to work up the courage to drive to the store about two blocks from the house. I still cant go in Walmart without mentally freaking out. Any advice??

    • Thanks you, Melissa,

      I gave up my licence a few months ago, as I realised that I may no longer be safe to drive. At any event, if I drove I face the real risk of being stranded with a migraine for hours.

      I think you’re more likely to get the experience and opinions of others if you visit one of the online support sites for VS/PMA (and possibly for migraine too). You can find a list of the ones I know of if you scroll down to the bottom of the PMA & Visual Snow FAQs page: https://porillion.wordpress.com/pma-visual-snow-faqs/

      I’ll ask the usual question too, rhetorically, of whether you have spoken with your family doctor about this. You may well find that he or she has never heard of the condition. Again, others on a VS/PMA support site may be able to offer more advice. You can find links to what I could find online from reputable sources about VS and PMA at the bottom of Parts One and Two of the series I wrote. Again, you can find nicely ordered links to my posts from my FAQs page on VS and PMA.

      Good luck and take care.

    • Melissa, you just told my same story. I am 28 and all of this got worse after a medicine I took when I had my son. I had subtle symptoms before I got pregnant after going off the medicine and it worssened after starting it back up after I delivered. How can I reach you??


  12. This was something I had long given up on ever getting an answer for.

    As a child I had these “visions” and persistant snow, I thought everybody saw like that, but in my teens realised they did not. My Dr’s had no answers though, they could not understand what I was talking about, I learnt to keep quiet about it because of the misperceptions that I might be on drugs or schizophrenic.

    It was only in 2007 that I was diagnosed, thanks to the internet.

    It has variously been an infernal nuisance and a gift, I understand now why certain art has always appealed to me, because the artists may have been migraineurs like me.

    • Hi, Larry,

      Thank you for your comment. Please accept my apology for the delay in approving it. I have been away from the Internet for a few days. And when I return yesterday, I get a migraine attack!

      I can’t think of much to add. Your story seems fairly typical of those of us with “persistent aura”, including visual snow. But I am glad that you know more about it than you did.

      Take care.

  13. i am on amitriptyline and have been for 12 yrs but i get headaches every single day so i don’t understand how they are supposed to help with that – incidently i was originally given them for nerve damage. I take other painkillers to help with headaches. Interesting to read other peoples experiences with this pill.

    • Hi,

      Thank you for your comment. After two and a half years now with “severe migraine” problems, if I’ve learnt one thing it’s that we’re all different! What works for one person, may not work for another. It’s just a thought, but if you have any doubts or concerns about your prescription, why not raise it with your doctor? You never know, they may not be aware of your concerns; and something new may have come along to try in the meantime.

      Take care.

  14. I am a 73 year old woman who has had persistent migraine aura without infarction for about 13 years.This is CONSTANT (a concept doctors don’t seem to believe, as they keep saying things like,”Well, how often do you get it?” Large white schintillating blobs of light are all around the perimeter of my vision,even with eyes closed. After cataract surgery 2 years ago, the condition worsened. Since it is a neurological condition,it is unclear why surgery on the eye would affect it. I have been to dozens of doctors and to Barrow Neurological Center, which is in my own town and where people come from all over the world. Have had dozens of migraine, seizure, antidepressant drugs tried. None has helped. I understand that the unremitting aura I have is extremely rare. One neurologist said I may be the only person on the planet who has had it continuously for so long. ISN’T THAT SPECIAL? We who suffer from this or the auras with visual images or visual snow tend to go from doctor to doctor and drug to drug. I want to assure such people that this CAN BE LIVED WITH. In my case, being in bright light helps; the darker it is, the more I see the “lights.” It has not helped me to be continuously seeking an”answer.” I used to obsessively consult the websites and blogs until I realized that I was putting life on hold to chase an elusive cure. And so I just live the best I can and remain calm and try to think of it as “normal for me.”

    • Hi, Cheryl,

      Thank you for your comment. Your experience with the medical profession sounds fairly typical, except that I have not heard of anyone having had surgery and this worsening the condition. (Can anyone else comment on this?) That does seem odd to me too. I would take issue with the opinion of medical experts who say it is “extremely rare”. Neither my own specialist, my own research nor simply the search statistics on my website would agree with that! Rare, perhaps, though I couldn’t put a figure on it. Granted they are saying that a 13 year stretch is extremely rare, from what you write. (Again, can anyone else comment on that?)

      I would agree with you that PMA can be lived with. Many people get very anxious about the condition. This, I feel, is partially down to medical ignorance – especially at the GP/family doctor level. But the research I have found (which is very little) suggests a link between anxiety, depression and migraine-related illness. So it’s also possible that people with PMA are more susceptible to these anyway. Which actually, I think, reinforces the point that more knowledge among medical practitioners is required, with more reassurance to patients.

      I am glad that you are coming to terms with PMA. My own answer was to start this site, in the hope that people can find answers themselves.

      Take care.

      • My onset of PMA occured 1 month after LASIK eye surgery. The onset was triggered by severe LASIK-induced dry eye. I agree with Cheryl, that doctors have a hard time understanding how a physical procedure can lead to triggering a neurological condition…but I am living proof. I have found one other person who’s visual snow began 1 week after their LASIK surgery. Just one more horrible, albiet very rare, side effect of LASIK – the biggest mistake of my life.

        • Hi, Taylor,

          I’m very sorry to hear about your situation. Can I suggest, if you have not done so already, that you look at the FAQ page and think about joining an online support forum? The people there may have ideas not expressed here.

          I wish you the very best for the future.
          Take care.

    • Cheryl, I have had this for at least forty years, that is how long it took to be recognised from my first noticing it, to it’s being finally explained. I would say that there are a number of people who have had it continually for decades and thanks to the internet we are finding out that we are no longer the only ones on the planet. On top of the constant snow and the scotoma in one eye, I get other transient phenomena, some that last for moments, others that last for months.

      I am currently reading a book called “the mind in the cave” which suggests that the origins of all art from the beginnings of time lie in migraine aura.

  15. Thanks for the information it’s very reassuring! I thought I’d had a stroke due to severe arm numbness and inability to speak. These symptoms resolved within the hour but I’ve had daily symptoms for four months now and neurologist thinks it’s complicated migraine with aura which is such s relief (ironic to welcome such a diagnosis). I don’t have headache but numbness in hands, mouth and Tongue and visual aura and neon crescent, visual snow when my eyes are closed, in the dark or doing a field test. Dr doesn’t doubt migraine but also suggested stress/anxiety which may be possible given that I thought I was going to die! I have some neuropathy testing to undergo and start with a course of betablockers in first instance. Lumbar puncture and repeat MRI with dye are possible at a later stage. Slowly coming to terms with this change in my being and am glad to know I’m not alone. Best Wishes x

    • Hi, JayKay,

      I’m glad that you find the site helpful. Don’t forget if you feel you would like to or need to, to check out the online support forum list in the FAQ page. I’m afraid the site is not very up-to-date, so I hope the links are still current. My time is very limited at the moment, but I am going through the site to update the information and links.

      Take care.

  16. Hey guys, this has been a really interesting chat feed to read. At the moment I have had persistent visual aura for just over a month and am waiting to go to the hospital within the next couple of weeks to get a brain scan and a real diagnosis hopefully. I have to admit, reading that alot of you have lived with this condition for months, if not years scares the hell out of me. Already in the back of my mind i fear that the aura won’t leave me as it has not once left me in the past month. I am scared and describing my condition to anyone besides family and those that want to understand is infuriating I find. I am going a little crazy here and I’d just love to hear from any of you about what measures i can take to lessen the symptoms, and how you find ways of coping with it. Is there anything you have had to give up because of the condition? Any advice would be great, thanks.

    • Hi, Mark,

      If I can say one thing, please try not to worry too much. As you’ve probably read and hopefully been reassured by your consultant, VS and persistent aura are usually benign if scary to those who suffer from it. Can I suggest that you try the VS support forum from the link on the FAQ page on this site?

      Kind regards.

    • Hi Mark

      I guess it is disturbing when these phenomena first present. For me it was a growing realisation that I didn’t see the same way as others. My first realisation was met with nothing more than a referral to an optometrist, the second time, it was an opthalmologist, then a neurologist and finally a psychiatrist!! you can see why I gave up on it for a long time after that, my most recent brain scans have not shown anything up either. Essentially that implies that whatever is behind this, is not some gross structural abnormality of the brain, so I don’t think you have anything to worry about there.

      • Hi, Laurentius and Mark,

        From what I have read, your (Laurentius’s) experience is not atypical. I was first presented to an optometrist by my GP. Then I did some research, leading to this site. I presented that to my GP and neurologist and they accepted that I had Persistent Aura (PA) including Visual Snow (VS). Most cases of PA and VS are physically benign: Either caused by an underlying migraine condition (diagnosed or not), or by previous use of hallucinogens (even as few as a one-time use). It is only very rarely that it is a symptom of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Nonetheless, I’m a firm believer that if neither migraine nor even a one-time drug use history is present that your doctor should make sure you get a more thorough investigation. But if I can say one thing, it’s please don’t worry: PA and VS are almost always physically benign. It is something of an open question in the VS community I think as to whether the VS causes the anxiety people often have, or whether the underlying condition causes both. My own view is that the uncertainties behind PA and VA in the patient’s mind is what causes the anxiety; but there is (if I recall correctly) a statistical link between people who suffer migraine and other conditions like depression and anxiety. That said, I should again stress I am not medically trained.

        Whatever else, please remember you are not alone.

        Take care.

  17. I have no history of using psychedelic substances though it is interesting that I was able to compare experiences with people who were “tripping” back in my university days.

    With regard to medical investigation, considering I was some 13 or 14 years old when I first did mention this to a GP I was a somewhat naieve reporter and given the age of my GP at the time approaching retirement he was more likely to be a repository of past rather than cutting edge knowledge.

    Given that my later reporting of these phenomena was in the 1980’s the neurologist who examined me did not have the instruments available today, when a brain scan is almost routine “just in case”

    Given that the literature until very recently with the numbers of people reporting this on the internet it is not surprising that the most recently consulted neurologist, supposedly a specialist in migraine did not really know what to say, by that time I had read more about it than he had. Again like the original GP he was close to retirement.

    Most recent brain scan was at the behest of an audiologist with regard to my tinnitus. Routine again carried out to ensure there were no neurological nasties, but quite unnecessary given that the former scan hadn’t revealed anything either.

    Tinnitus is another of these sensory/perceptual anomalies, it does not always go with hearing loss since mine remains acute for my age. The difference is I think that tinnitus is much more commonly reported and familiar to both lay people and Dr’s.

    A book I am finding very interesting at the moment is the Mind in the Cave, by David Lewis-Williams, that links “entoptic” phenomena to the origins of Cave Art and Shamanism.

    Essentially every “modern” human being has the capacity to see these various shapes and to interpret them as images, though for most people that is something that takes extremes of drug use, and sensory deprivation to manifest. For a rare few people however these inner images are our everyday experience. I am a lucid dreamer too, so there are elements of the unconscious that are just so much closer to the surface and it is understanding that which allays the anxiety.

  18. Thankyou Porillion and Laurentius for your comforting words. I am starting to worry less so thats a good thing i guess. And good to hear VS is usually benign, though i must say i did have a brief period in school where i had alot of migraines. I do also suffer from anxiety and stress so your words mean more to me than i can say! Many thanks guys.

    • You’re welcome.

  19. Hi, I am a 25 year old woman, i am fit, healthy and young!
    About 6 months i have been suffering from visual snow & huge after image’s…. I also have constant migrains they come nearly every week or so…
    It started when i woke up one morning and my right eye vision had squiggley lines all over it, this then moved over to my left eye and was there for about 30mins, i paniced and went to A.E as i had no idea what was going on!! they said i was suffering from migrain aura…i have never had a migrain in my life.
    about 3 week’s later it happend again, i was on my own with my 4 year old daughter, i thought i was dieing… it went off after about 40 mins, and then the pain came! i could not stand, i started to get a huge pressure in my head and face and i was in bed for about 5 day’s!! it effted my balance and vision.
    From that point i have suffered from contact Visual snow… it never goes and it has made me scared all the time and i’am having huge anixity!!
    I have been to my doctors and she look’s at me like i’m a crazy woman, i have had MIR & a ct scan and they can find nothing!
    I am scared about taking medication but i don’t know what else to do.
    I am an event’s manager i have an amazing 5 year old daoughter & an amazing husband who i have only been married to 9 months… im scared i;am going blind or dieing…i don’t want this forever. can someone please help……can you die from it??? i need normality back in my life.

    Many Thanks

    • Hi, Sarah,

      First of all, no you can’t die from migraine or visual snow. It’s also very commonplace for anyone who suffers from it to find it distressing and become highly anxious about it. Please be assured that it is “only” migraine and migraine aura and that it is not a serious illness that you can die from.

      That said, migraine can be debilitating and commonly onsets in early to mid-twenties. Your experience of the ignorance of the medical profession towards visual snow is, I’m afraid, still very typical. The technical term for the condition is persistent aura or PA. You might want to think about downloading reliable information, say, from wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_snow) and presenting it to your doctor. It is also quite normal for MIR and CT scans to show nothing abnormal. Please be reassured by that. While, sadly, visual snow doesn’t normally respond to any medication that I know of, there are preventatives and painkillers that can help manage migraine. It is important that your doctor work with you now to find the right combination of these for you. This can take some time and in itself be frustrating, so be aware.

      I wish you all the best with your treatment in the future,

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