Visual snow


I had my ASD fixed with Amplatzer device one year ago. Before getting my ASD fixed, I used to have the occasional migraine once in a blue moon, and only experienced aura once I my life. After getting my ASD fixed, for the first 6 months, I experience scotoma auras followed by migraine headaches 4-6 times per month. Six months’ post closure, I now experience auras followed by migraine headaches 1-2 times per month. When the auras happen and for about a day later, I feel very tired, foggy, off balance, with severe photophobia, and nausea. Actually, every day I have varying degree of photophobia- worse after aura migraine. The auras/migraines seem to be unpredictable: maybe stress/being tired bring them on, but not necessarily.

What I also noticed since I have had my ASD closed is another unusual vision change: visual snow. When looking at mid or far distance (close up is fine), I see what a finely pixelated old TV monitor might look like. This worsens if I am tired.

I had an ophthalmology appointment but all was OK, and an MRI brain showed small lesions on T2 imaging that are associated with migraines.

I wonder if my visual auras and visual snow is due to increased blood flow to my brain after my ASD was closed with resulting increased cardiac output.

I know other people have written about migraines/auras after ASD closure, but has anyone experienced visual snow? If yes, how are you dealing with it?


I’ve had neurologically complicated migraines for 30+ years and I’m moderately concerned that you’ve been told small brain legions are associated with and/or cause migraines.

This has not been conclusively proven. In fact, the reports have been wildly ranging (if not outright inaccurate) saying from 4% to 47% of people with migraine have white matter legions on MRIs but then go on to say generally these legions are not associated with any neurological disturbance. The reports also go on to say the legions apparently develop over a long period of time in patients that experience more than a migraine a month. This doesn’t sound like you.

I like this overview of migraine and lesions from the American Headache Society:

I would strongly suggest you do some personal follow up on lesions and made decisions from there, I personally don’t believe going with the idea migraine = your lesion is the best course of action.

Also, just to give you the flip side of the issue, keep in mind that MRIs are so incredibly sensitive nowadays they pick up stuff that simply isn’t relevant. It could be that said “lesion” is nothing more than the natural state of your brain and prior MRIs weren’t sensitive enough to show it. Case on point, my husband’s oncologist said he would never have an MRI done on himself, they show too much useless info!


Thanks Azurelle

I will follow up on this with my doctor.

The web link was useful and reassuring.

I do worry somewhat yet I know there is little to do except eat healthy live healthy about the increased associated risk of migraine with aura and stroke or cardiovascular disease.

Honestly I don’t think you have anything to worry about, the connection simply hasn’t really been made. Over 25 different studies in 2009 it was found relative risk for ischemic stroke among subjects with any type of migraine was 1.73 compared to those without migraine. That’s a tiny amount! Not even a 2% risk increase! And there are all kinds of other factors such as women taking birth control and smokers of both sex that played into the risk but was unable to be quantified.

Additionally, migraine is considered to be insignificant as a risk factor for stroke after the age of 50.

There’s tons of research out there. A good sample is

Now, should you have a “thunder bolt” headache or a “lightening strike” headache by all means get to the ER immediately, those are very dangerous. But overall your danger level is very, very low.


The link you provide is an excellent article on migraines and stroke.

I believe the best course of action is to control risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, weight, and exercise.