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Dyslexia and Visual Stress


Dyslexia is a learning disability that affects between 5 and 10 percent of the population. A person with dyslexia has difficulty ‘decoding’ words when reading or expressing themselves when writing. The problems can vary from phonological awareness, phonological decoding, orthographic coding, auditory short term memory, or rapid naming. Dyslexia can take mild or more severe forms, and symptoms vary from person to person.

Our Consultant Behavioural Optometrist has a specialist interest in Dyslexia, ADHD, ASD, Visual Stress, etc

The most common symptoms of dyslexia are:

  • Slow reading and writing speed
  • Spelling problems
  • Problems with reading fluency and organised and clear expression when writing
  • Problems understanding new and difficult words
  • Poor organisation and time management
  • Avoiding reading and writing when possible

Dylexia and Colorimetry treatment

Treatment with coloured overlays or tinted lenses can be used to alleviative some of the symptoms of learning difficulties such as dyslexia, and make them easier to cope with.

There is also a large percentage of children and indeed adults who are not identified as being dyslexic but still suffer with similar symptoms. The appropriate coloured overlay or precision tinted lenses can also help this group of individuals.

It is therefore important that overlays should not be reserved only for those pupils who have been identified as being in need of specific help. They should be available to any child who does not naturally like to look at books.

Do you have any of these symptoms?

Contact us to find out how we can help?

Visual Stress

Visual Stress is a condition which is also known as “Mears-Irlen” syndrome. Visual stress refers to reading difficulties, light sensitivity and headaches from exposure to disturbing visual patterns. It can be responsible for print distortion and rapid fatigue when reading.

The severity of visual stress symptoms can vary from person to person. The symptoms can occur despite normal vision. Approximately 5% of the population is severely affected by visual stress and 20% to a lesser degree.

Symptoms of visual stress include:

  • Movement of print
  • Blurring of print
  • Letters changing shape or size
  • Letters fading or becoming darker
  • Patterns appearing
  • Sometimes described as “worms” or “rivers” running through print
  • Illusions of colour – blobs of colour on the page or colours surrounding letters or words
  • Rapid tiring
  • Headache or eyestrain

Signs of visual stress include:

  • Moving closer to or away from page
  • Becoming restless
  • Using finger as a marker
  • Skipping words and lines
  • Rubbing eyes and blinking excessively
  • Low self esteem

When we look at someone wearing a very stripy shirt it may feel uncomfortable for us to look at and it may “make our eyes go funny”. This effect can be seen by many individuals who look at print as this is often a “stripy pattern”.

Symptoms of visual stress are not always immediately obvious. Many individuals who suffer with this condition believe the discomfort they feel when reading or the distortions they experience on the page are “normal” and experienced by everyone. That is until someone presents them with an appropriate colour and they realise that reading can become more comfortable and even enjoyable.

The simple application of an overlay at an early stage could save years of anxiety and prevent the downward slide in confidence which occurs in most cases where children struggle to read.

Do you have any of these symptoms?

Contact us to find out how we can help?