Visual Stress

Visual Stress refers to reading difficulties, light sensitivity and headaches from exposure to disturbing visual patterns. It can be responsible for print distortion and fatigue when reading. The severity of these symptoms can vary from person to person.

The symptoms can occur despite normal vision.

Approximately 5% of the population are severely affected by Visual Stress and 20% to a lesser degree.

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Symptoms

  • movement of print
  • blurring of print
  • letters changing shape or size
  • letters fading or becoming darker
  • patterns appearing, sometimes describes as “worms” or “rivers” running through print
  • illusions of colour – blobs of colour on the page or colours surrounding letters or words
  • rapid tiring
  • headache or eyestrain

Signs

  • moving closer to or away from page
  • becoming restless
  • using finger as a marker
  • skipping words and lines
  • rubbing eyes and blinking excessively
  • low self esteem
Symptoms of visual stress are not always immediately obvious. Many individuals who suffer with this condition believe the discomfort they feel when reading or the distortions they experience on the page are “normal” and experienced by everyone. That is until someone presents them with an appropriate colour and they realise that reading can become more comfortable and even enjoyable.

Using an overlay at an early stage could save years of anxiety and prevent the downward slide in confidence which occurs in most cases where children struggle to read.

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