Visual Stress & Colourimetry

What is visual stress?

Visual Stress (also referred to as Meares-Irlen Syndrome and Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome) is a perceptual processing disorder and describes the unpleasant visual symptoms experienced when reading, especially over extended periods of time. Visual stress makes reading and writing an unpleasant and irritating tasks that children will aim to avoid as a result. Sufferers tend to be hypersensitive to fluorescent lighting and flicker on computer monitors.

What are the symptoms of visual stress?

People with visual stress may experience one or several of the following:

  • Letters or words that move when reading
  • Blurred letters or words when reading
  • Letters which move or present with back to front appearance
  • Letters or words that shimmer or shake
  • Letters or words that change size
  • Headaches
  • Patterns or colours appearing in print

Research suggests such symptoms occur in approximately 15% of the population, can occur at any age, and can be present in individuals with no history of other visual issues.

How can we help?

As one of the few specialist centres in Visual Stress we can offer a personalised treatment plan which might include prescription spectacles, visual therapy for muscle imbalances, coloured overlays or bespoke individually tailored precision tinted spectacle lenses.

The aim of any treatment is to help improve reading comfort, speed and fluency, to improve your child’s ability to recognise words quickly and to read longer passages of text in a smooth and efficient way so that good comprehension is maintained. This hopefully results in better school reports and exam grades.

What happens at the clinic?

The aim of the clinic is to understand the cause or causes of the visual problems and solve each issue. This assessment splits into three aspects:

1. Assessment of the imaging system
2. Assessment of the co-ordination system
3. Assessment of the processing system

Is there a minimum age for testing?

We generally advise testing from 6 years and older. There is no upper age limit for adults.