Visual Stress, also known as Meares-Irlen syndrome, is a sensitivity to visual patterns. In some individuals the condition can result in visual perceptual problems that can cause interference when reading. The symptoms can occur despite normal vision.
All or some of the following symptoms may be present:
- Movement of the printed text
- Blurring of print
- Letters changing size or shape
- Patterns in the print (sometimes described as rivers or worms)
- Halos of colour surrounding letters or words
- Tiring easily whilst reading
- Headaches or visual discomfort
Visual stress can affect all ages, however it is common to associate visual stress with other conditions including:
- Photosensitive migraines or epilepsy
Frustration and low self-esteem can occur in those who experience visual stress therefore early diagnosis is essential.
Visual stress can be reduced by the use of coloured filters; a coloured overlay placed over text or coloured lenses worn in spectacles. The reduction occurs only when the colour is selected to suit the individual.
1. Eye Examination
If you're experiencing the above symptoms or your child is having difficulty reading, book an appointment at your local JM MacDonald optician for a full eye test.
2. Overlay Assessment
Following the vision test the optometrist may carry out an assessment using coloured overlays. These overlays are coloured sheets of robust transparent plastic that are placed over a page of text when reading and using the computer. The overlay assessment is used as a screening tool to identify the benefits of working with colour. The optometrist may suggest the patient use a coloured overlay and return after an arranged time, noting any improvements that result.
Overlay assessments are available in both JM MacDonald Inverness and Portree.
3. Colourimetry Assessment
If overlays are beneficial the optometrist may suggest colourimetry as the next stage. This may result in the prescribing of spectacles with coloured lenses.
An instrument will independently change the 3 parameters of colour - hue, saturation and brightness. Selecting from many colours, this will provide a recommended colour which is more specific to each individual's needs - more precisely and often a very different colour to the overlay..
These assessments take around 20 to 30 minutes and are available in our Inverness branch.
4. Cerium Coloured Lenses
Once a preferred colour is selected, precision tinted lenses can then be prescribed which provide a much more accurate and precise colour for each individual. Using coloured lenses within glasses is much more convenient than overlay's for board and computer work. Cerium Lenses can also bring relief for migraine suffers and patients on the autistic spectrum with perceptual problems.