Colorimetric Intervention for Visual Snow Syndrome (VSS) Following Brain Surgery

M.H. Esther Han



To demonstrate the functional utility of colorimetric therapeutic intervention in a patient with VSS following brain surgery.

Case Report

VSS is a rare medical condition, frequently found in children, in which the person reports the perception of “visual snow” (VS) (i.e., typically either constant monochromatic or chromatic dots throughout the entire visual field), as well as other abnormal perceptual phenomena (e.g., palinopsia, or persistent afterimages of previously fixated objects). VSS is believed to be due to abnormal cortical disinhibition.

The patient was referred by a neuro-ophthalmologist specifically to determine any benefit from custom, Cerium-based “colored lenses” to address her VSS symptoms. The patient was an 11-year-old female who reported VS and palinopsia following brain surgery for a benign cyst located anterior and superior to the brainstem. Her comprehensive optometric vision examination revealed accommodative and oculomotor (e.g., inaccurate saccades) dysfunctions, which is consistent with midbrain compression, for which she received successful optometric vision therapy. Then a range of standard ophthalmic tints (e.g., light brown, rose) were tested and found to be minimally effective for VSS symptom reduction. Colorimetric testing (Cerium Intuitive Colorimeter) revealed two specific, custom, precision filter combinations (e.g., hue and saturation parameters) that markedly reduced her perceptual symptoms: one (pinkish-purple – peak 470nm, 77% transmittance) reduced the VS in general; and the other (turquoise-green – peak 500nm, 70% transmittance) reduced the palinopsia experienced mainly during reading by 70% and which improved her reading due to less persistent visual interference. Both filters were prescribed in individual spectacle form with good short- and long-term success.


Colorimetric intervention was found to be successful in a patient with the rare condition of VSS. Her VSS perceptual symptoms reduced, and she reads more comfortably for longer durations, with the specific custom Cerium tinted spectacles.


Year: 2019

Program Number: 195296

Resource Type: Case Report: Poster first choice, Paper second

Author Affiliation: State University of New York

Co-Authors: Kenneth Ciuffreda; Barry Tannen

Co-Author Affiliation: n/a

Room: WD1