Visual masking provides several key advantages for exploring the earliest stages of visual processing in schizophrenia: it allows for control over timing at the millisecond level, there are several well-supported theories of the underlying neurobiology of visual masking, and it is amenable to examination by electroencephalogram (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In this paper, we provide an overview of the visual masking impairment schizophrenia, including the relevant theoretical mechanisms for masking impairment. We will discuss its relationship to clinical symptoms, antipsychotic medications, diagnostic specificity, and presence in at-risk populations. As part of this overview, we will cover the neural correlates of visual masking based on recent findings from EEG and fMRI. Finally, we will suggest a possible mechanism that could explain the patterns of masking findings and other visual processing findings in schizophrenia. © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Maryland Psychiatric Research Center. All rights reserved.