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Elucidating the Visual Snow Spectrum: A Latent Class Analysis Study.

OBJECTIVE: People with visual snow syndrome (VSS) experience a range of perceptual phenomena, in addition to visual snow (VS; flickering pinpricks of light throughout the visual field). We investigated the patterns of perceptual phenomena associated with VSS in a large sample of people without prior knowledge of VSS or its associated symptoms. Methods and Measures . Two thousand participants completed a screening questionnaire assessing the frequency and severity of perceptual phenomena associated with VSS. We used latent class analysis (LCA), a clustering technique which identifies qualitatively different subgroups within a given population, to investigate whether the presence (or absence) of VS impacted class structure.

RESULTS: Of 1,846 participants included for analysis, 41.92% experienced VS some of the time, including 4.49% who had VSS without prior knowledge. The mean number of perceptual phenomena experienced was 2.03. Optimal four-class LCA solutions did not substantially differ whether VS was included in the model; instead, classes differed in the frequency and total number of symptoms experienced. Discussion . Our results suggest that the perceptual phenomena associated with VSS are likely to be common in the general population and do not necessarily indicate an underlying pathology. We also showed that visual snow itself does not explain the presence of other perceptual phenomena.

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