What causes visual stress?

Here at Leightons Opticians and Hearing Care we are able to carry out some specialised examinations for those people who suffer with visual stress.

The general consensus is that it is caused by hypersensitivity in the individual’s visual system. Coloured filters calm it down and allow the individual to process the information more effectively.

The good thing is, in some cases visual stress doesn't last forever. You can use coloured overlays or spectacles for a couple of years to ‘rewire’ your brain and teach it to work in new ways for good.

And it’s not just children who benefit. Adults do, too.

Colorimetry and tinted spectacles have many other uses, including for migraine, photo-sensitive epilepsy, acquired brain injury as well as dyslexia.

Does your child find it difficult to read?

Here are some tips to spot if your child is suffering from visual stress:

  • They're reluctant to read
  • They’re falling behind in their reading age
  • They complain the print hurts their eyes
  • They rub their eyes whilst reading
  • They’re fidgety and unwilling to sit down and read
  • They may have behavioural issues – linked to the discomfort of reading

How visual stress affects your sight

Far from being an ordered grouping of lines and text, here’s how the page looks to them…

  • Words on the page wobble, move, are ghosted, blurred, overlap or have a 3D appearance
  • They can see shapes appearing on the page
  • They find the white of the page very bright, often seeing rivers of white running through the page
  • Their eye jumps between lines, and they have difficulty tracking along the page

Coloured Overlay Assessment

During the examination, we try a number of acetate plastic sheets in various colours to determine if colour will help reduce the discomfort experienced.

Coloured overlays are especially great for young children and students as they are cheap and easy to use. Coloured overlays can only be used to assist reading paperwork/books, we recommend that it is used for around 6 weeks before coloured spectacles lenses are considered.

If coloured overlays are successful, and colour is needed to help with writing, distance vision or computer use, we move on to a test called 'colorimetry'.

Colorimetry Assessment

Colorimetry testing tells us what colour tinted spectacles to prescribe. The overlay test does not work in the same way as colorimetry, which is why there are separate types of tests. In colorimetry a light box is used with lots of coloured filters, a very specific colour is determined along with its density.

We have had lots of great success with coloured overlays and tinted spectacles. Many people report a significant improvement in both the comfort, speed of reading and comprehension. Some children have found they may jump several reading ages in a short space of time.

To arrange a visual stress test you will need an up-to-date eye examination. Please contact your local branch to arrange your visual stress examination or book an appointment online now. We look forward to finding out if colour could help you!