Visual Snow Syndrome

Patients with visual snow syndrome suffer from a continuous pan-field visual disturbance, additional visual symptoms, tinnitus, and non-perceptional symptoms.

The pathophysiology of visual symptoms might involve dysfunctional visual cortex.

In a new study the investigators compared patients to age- and sex-matched controls using 18F-2-fluoro-2-deoxy-d-glucose PET (n = 20 per group) and voxel-based morphometry (n = 17 per group).

Guided by the PET results, region of interest analysis was done in voxel-based morphometry to identify structural-functional correspondence. Grey matter volume was assessed globally.

Patients had corresponding hypermetabolism and cortical volume increase in the extrastriate visual cortex at the junction of the right lingual and fusiform gyrus. There was hypometabolism in the right superior temporal gyrus and the left inferior parietal lobule. Patients had grey matter volume increases in the temporal and limbic lobes and decrease in the superior temporal gyrus.

The corresponding structural and functional alterations emphasize the relevance of the visual association cortex for visual snow syndrome.

The broad structural and functional footprint, however, confirms the clinical impression that the disorder extends beyond the visual system.