Dyslexia, Visual Stress, Eyestrain, Reading Problems, Photosensitive migraine, Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome

Visual Stress is  a perception problem which makes it difficult to see clearly causing reading difficulties, light sensitivity and headaches from exposoure to disturbing visual patterns.  Print may appear to be jumbled, moving, distorted and the reader can fatigue very quickly when reading.

These symptoms can occur despite having normal vision and can often be reduced by the use of coloured filters/overlays/lenses.  Visual Stress has also been known as Mears-Irlen syndrome or Scotopic Sensitivty Syndrome.

It is essential to identify this at an early age because frustration and low self esteem can occur in children who are under-achieving due to visual stress.  The longer it takes to identify and remedy Visual Stress the greater the loss of confidence.


Is Visual Stress the same as Dyslexia? 

Visual Stress is not dyslexia. However visual stress can be a factor in poor readers who may or may not be dyslexic. We aim to identify and treat visual Stress so that any remaining difficulties become easier to manage.


Visual Stress and Migraine

Some triggers for photosensitive migraine include stress and hormonal factors.  For others who display no problems reading, visually stressful text and light patterns can cause a migraine.  

Coloured filters can help to reduce the frequency of these visually precipitated attacks of migraine. The use of colour has also been shown to be beneficial in other neurological conditions such as autism, MS, ME and Parkinsons.

  •  Are you worried about your child’s reading skills? Or your own?
  • Has dyslexia been suggested as a possible cause?
  • Are headaches recurrent when you read?
  • Do you feel that words wobble or that glare causes you to give up reading?
  • When you read do you insert or leave out words ?
  • Are certain background colours easier to read from? 

If the answer is yes to any of these questions then it is possible that you may be suffering from visual stress.


What is the treatment for Visual Stress? 

Scientific research has shown that visual stress can be reduced by the use of spectral filters e.g. Coloured overlays and/orprecision tinted lenses. The optimal colour is unique to each person and when beneficial it allows for more fluent, efficient and comfortable reading.


How will I know if colour can help?

A comprehensive eye examination at Nichola C. Kennedy FAOI Optometrist, Kilcullen will assess your vision, eye health and visual function including eye muscles and binocularity.

Once any other eye problems have been ruled out  we can carry out an Overlay Assessment to determine a colour which may be beneficial which is used for a trial period as overlays.

If the overlays prove beneficial then we can proceed to assessing for coloured spectacle lenses.


You can learn more here, book an appointment at the link below or call us now on 045-484643.