Visual Stress & Colorimetry

Visual Stress

Visual stress (also known as Meares-Irlen Syndrome) causes symptoms when reading black text on a white background such as letters moving, sore eyes or headaches. This can lead to avoiding reading altogether, possibly preventing people from achieving their full potential at school or work.

In our Visual Stress Clinic, suitable for children aged 8 and over, we carry out a series of specialised tests and techniques which are outside the scope of a routine eye examination.

Initially we investigate eye movement skills, focussing speed and accuracy and the ability of the eyes to work well together. Any slight imbalance or weakness of the eye muscles can result in visual difficulty and/or discomfort. If appropriate we may use a series of simple eye exercises to improve muscle control.

Coloured Overlays and Lenses

The other area we investigate is the use of colour to help with visual difficulties when reading. Initially we use coloured overlays, which can be placed over text when reading. The use of colour has been shown to reduce symptoms such as glare from the page, moving letters, and flickering shapes or colours on the page.

Research has found that one in five children will demonstrate an improvement in reading speed through the use of a coloured overlay.

Research has found that one in five children will demonstrate an improvement in reading speed through the use of a coloured overlay.

For those who find a coloured overlay helpful, we are able to use a special instrument called a colorimeter to accurately select the exact colour needed for tinted spectacle lenses.

Tinted spectacles are usually found to be of even more benefit than an overlay because the lens shade is measured so precisely. The colorimeter is able to select the exact tint required from a range of over 110,000 shades and as the colour is specific to each individual it needs to be selected very accurately.

Precision Tints

Spectacle lenses will be made up with precise tint applied in a special laboratory and are issued with a certificate of authenticity. The lenses are dyed to a degree of accuracy beyond that of a normal ophthalmic tinting.

The appropriate tinted spectacles will make reading much easier and more comfortable, in fact the effect has been described by some as “magical!”

Visual Stress & Colorimetry Clinics

Visual Stress and Colorimetry Clinics are currently available at Chippenham and Regent Street, Swindon.

Please note: The Visual Stress Clinic is a private service and therefore is not covered under the NHS Optical Scheme. For costs, please contact our Chippenham or Regent Street, Swindon practice.

The College of Optometrists advises that: “There is currently no strong evidence that tinted lenses are effective in improving visual function in patients with specific learning difficulties. However, optometrists who practice in this area report that some patients find these interventions helpful. Some studiesindicate the benefits of overlays and lenses maybe due to a placebo effect”.

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