Children and adults can suffer from Visual Stress, which can be reduced through the use of individually-prescribed coloured overlays or precision tinted lenses.
Any child or adult who experiences problems with reading should have an eye examination in the first instance. This can reveal underlying binocular vision anomalies or refractive issues that may need correction before proceeding with a Visual Stress Consultation,
Visual Stress is a light sensitivity to visual patterns which contributes to visual perception problems which can interfere with reading and symptoms can be alleviated by the use of colour. It may also be referred to as Meares-Irlen Syndrome or Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome.
Signs and symptoms include: moving closer or away from the page, skipping words or lines, restlessness and fatigue, requiring use of a marker, low confidence with reading, complaining of text moving, blurring of text, letters fading, patterns in text, colour in text, headaches. Sufferers often do not realise that what they are seeing is not how the words ought to look.
Visual Stress is NOT the same as dyslexia but is more common in those with dyslexia.
At present the clinical recommendation is for visual stress consultation to be carried at around the age of 8, or thereafter, once the visual system is more mature and also to allow the appropriate assessments to be undertaken to achieve maximum benefit.
Visual Stress Consultation
The Visual Stress Consultation involves a variety of assessments to determine diagnosis. These include a comparative study of reading randomised words; testing reading speed, with and without a selected coloured overlay. This study is specifically designed to objectively measure any benefits obtained with the use of colour.
Coloured overlays are transparent sheets tinted in a range of colours. For those thought to have Visual Stress, a coloured overlay assessment can then be performed.
This involves the use of coloured overlays presented in a specific order to determine the overlay colour giving maximum relief for reading performance and reduction of visual symptoms. Significant improvements in reading speed and accuracy are often noted with the use of a coloured overlay.
If the use of overlays proves beneficial, spectacles with tinted lenses to a much more specific colour may be prescribed after further assessment using the Intuitive Colorimeter. It is often unlikely that the tint of the ultimate optimum lenses will be that of the chosen overlay. It is therefore important that Colorimetry is performed rather than the selected coloured overlay just be replicated as lenses.
The Intuitive Colorimeter is used to find the optimal Precision Tint for the relief of Visual Stress. Three parameters of colour are assessed sequentially: hue, saturation and brightness. This gives a final colour which is extremely precise; the colour giving maximum relief will be specific to each individual.
It is much more precise than the coloured overlay and is often a different colour from that of the overlay.
Precision Tinted Lenses are also much more convenient than overlays for written, board and computer work. Once the optimum colour is obtained, the Cerium Precision Tinted Lenses will then be glazed into spectacles, incorporating any prescription if required.
The optimal colour can change over time, especially with children. It is therefore important to attend for appointments as advised by your specialist Optometrist.