01234 354343 
eyecare@humphrissandburgess.co.uk 

 Dyslexia, visual stress and colorimetry testing  

People with dyslexia, visual stress and some other conditions might experience reading difficulties.  
Reading can be uncomfortable and printed text can look distorted. Some people have headaches, feel nauseous or tired when reading. 
Young girl with tinted glasses reading a book
You might not realise that what you see when you read is not what everyone else sees – how could you? 
 
Your reading difficulties might include: 
printed text appearing to move, fade or become darker 
letters changing shape or size 
patterns appearing through printed text, sometimes described as ‘worms’ or ‘rivers’ 
illusions of colour; patches of colour on the page or colours surrounding letters or words 
quickly becoming tired when reading 
eyestrain. 
 
If reading is a challenge for you or a family member then a colorimetry test could identify a colour for precision tinted glasses or contact lenses that will make a big difference. 
 
The correct tint can be helpful when you are reading printed text or copying from a board and for anyone who is especially sensitive to light. Precision tinted lenses can also provide a much more convenient solution than coloured overlays when you are using computers, mobile devices and watching television. 
 

Visual stress - Meares-Irlen syndrome 

Visual stress is sometimes also called Irlen or Meares-Irlen Syndrome, or Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome. 
 
Although this isn’t an optical problem, it affects the way you process visual information. It is common for several family members to have this condition, which is why people often think everyone has the same experience. Standard educational and medical tests won’t normally identify it. 

Dyslexia and visual stress 

Dyslexia refers to a range of learning difficulties that often also include problems with reading and spelling. Visual stress is often associated with dyslexia, but it is not the same thing. We have known that coloured overlays can help people who experience visual stress for almost 20 years. 
 
Now we can use colorimetry testing to assess a specific colour that will be most helpful. Instead of using just a few different coloured overlays, there are now hundreds of possible colours that can be precisely specified. 
 
Older woman being fitted with tinted glasses
Woman having an eye test

Reading difficulties 

A number of things can affect your ability to read, including your eyesight, now you use your eyes together (binocular vision) and how your brain processes information. About four in 10 people who find reading difficult will have visual stress and two in 10 of the wider population. 
 
It’s important to have regular eye tests to make sure that other possible causes of reading difficulties are reviewed. 
 
We will carry out a primary eye examination which checks for things like long or short sightedness or astigmatisms. This is free of charge under the NHS for school aged children. 

 Neurological conditions 

Visual stress is also associated with neurological conditions including migraine, and can arise after a stroke, for example. It can also be caused by patterns of flickering or strobe lights and distortions to stipes, including text. 
 
Symptoms can change over time, so it is worth regularly reviewing which colours work most effectively. 
 

Autism and brain injury 

The use of coloured tints can also improve reading for people with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD). Sensitivity to light and sound can increase following a head injury, which is also often associated with reading difficulties. Some people with multiple sclerosis also report benefits when wearing tinted lenses. 
Jigsaw of a head with two pieces removed

Signs of visual stress can include: 

moving closer to or further away from the page 
becoming restless when reading 
using a finger as a marker 
skipping words and lines 
rubbing eyes and blinking excessively. 
 
With our high-tech colorimetry testing we can create a very specific individualised colours and prescribe precision tinted lenses to relieve visual stress. 
 
Please contact us if you would like to know more about colorimetry testing or to book and appointment. 
Please call us on 01234 354343 to arrange a free telephone consultation if you believe this may be helpful to you or your child. 
 
Humphriss & Burgess 
 
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