VISUAL STRESS / (Visual stress is know previously as visual dyslexia )
WHAT IS VISUAL STRESS?
Visual stress (sometimes called ‘Meares-Irlen Syndrome’ or ‘Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome’) is the experience of unpleasant visual symptoms when reading, especially for prolonged periods. Symptoms include illusions of shape, movement and colour in the text, distortions of the print, loss of print clarity, and general visual irritation.
Visual stress can also cause sore eyes, headaches, frequent loss of place when reading, and impaired comprehension.
Visual stress can have an adverse effect on the development of reading skills, especially reading fluency – i.e. the ability to recognise words quickly and to read longer passages text of text in a smooth and efficient way so that good comprehension is maintained.
Visual stress makes reading an unpleasant and irritating activity that children will tend to avoid as much as possible. Research has shown that 15 – 20% of people suffer visual stress to some extent, and they also tend to be hypersensitive to fluorescent lighting and flicker on computer monitors.
The condition of visual stress was first discovered independently by Olive Meares, a teacher in New Zealand, in 1980, and by Helen Irlen, a psychologist in the United States in 1983. They did not use the term ‘visual stress’, but they recognised that the problem contributed significantly to reading difficulties and that coloured overlays can help to overcome the unpleasant symptoms.
The use of tinted lenses or coloured overlays to treat visual stress was formerly regarded with scepticism by the medical and education professions. However, scientific studies in the 1990s by Professor Arnold Wilkins of the University of Essex have shown that this treatment is generally the most effective and simplest solution.
Visual stress is not the same as dyslexia.
Some people with dyslexia may suffer from visual stress and some may not. Dyslexia is a genetically inherited neurological condition characterised by problems in processing and remembering phonological information, which adversely affect development of efficient reading, writing and spelling.
Dyslexic readers find it harder to recognise words so they have to pay closer attention to the print than other readers, and therefore they become more sensitive to any aspects of the appearance of the print that might cause visual stress, such as the black/white contrast of the text and the background, the line spacing, the type of font and the quality of the printing. So dyslexia seems to make the symptoms of visual stress much worse, and therefore it is particularly important that children with diagnosed dyslexia are screened for visual stress
One or more of these symptoms may be related to the condition:
Headaches (including migraine)
Nausea, including visually-related motion sickness
Problems with depth perception (catching balls, judging distance, etc.)
Restricted field of view and span of recognition
Discomfort with busy patterns, particularly stripes (“visual stress” and “pattern glare”)
Discomfort with extreme conditions of bright/dark contrast (i.e. back-lighting)
Discomfort or difficulty reading (reading involves busy patterns, particularly stripes. People with strong symptoms of the syndrome find it very difficult to read black text on white paper, particularly when the paper is slightly shiny.)
Text that appears to move (rise, fall, swirl, shake, etc.)
Attention and concentration difficulties
Seeing the part and losing the whole
Epileptic seizure related to strobe lights or pattern glare
If you are interested tested for Visual Stress please contact us we do need full payment for the private visual stress element of the test before the appointment which is non refundable.
FULL TEST FEE : WITHOUT LENSES £50.00
PRECISION FILTER & TEST: £173.00 plus NHS voucher where available
ADDITIONAL APPOINTMENTS: £25.00
Please be aware that this is purely a subjective test and relies on the patient being able to make choices.