What is Visual Stress?

Visual Stress is a perceptual processing condition that causes reading difficulties, headaches and visual problems from exposure to patterns in text, such as lines of text. Visual Stress is linked to dyslexia and similar visual learning difficulties. Sufferers experience print distortion and fatigue when reading.

Visual Stress is also known as Meares-Irlen syndrome, after the two researchers who first discovered the connection between white page glare and reading difficulties. The severity of these symptoms can vary from person to person, with approximately 20% of the population suffering to some degree.

Discover more about the research into Visual Stress.

Research into Visual Stress

Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome is another name for Visual Stress. Yet despite the research and many names for this condition, there is no proven scientific explanation, though scientists agree that Visual Stress is visual-perceptual in nature as a result of a deficiency in one of the visual pathways. Because of this, Visual Stress cannot be corrected by prescription lenses, can occur in people with 20/20 vision and can be very hard to accurately detect.

Symptoms of visual stress are not immediately obvious. Many people who suffer with this syndrome believe the discomfort they feel when reading are normal and experienced by everyone.

Symptoms of Visual Stress

+ Headaches
+ Eyestrain
+ Tiredness after reading
+ Blurring or movement of print
+ Letters changing size/strong>
+ Illusions of colour on the page

Signs of Visual Stress in Children

Early identification of Visual Stress and treatment could save years of anxiety in children and prevent the loss of confidence and quality of learning that occurs in most cases where children struggle to read. Signs include...

  • moving closer to or away from page
  • skipping words and lines when reading
  • rubbing eyes and blinking excessively
  • low self esteem

Discover more about Signs of Visual Stress

Visual Stress and Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a general term for disorders that involve difficulty in learning to read or interpret words, letters, and other symbols. It does not affect general intelligence, just the interpretation of data on a page. Due to the fact that 80% of our education is visual in nature, dyslexia is sometimes assumed to relate to intelligence. If Visual Stress is identified and colour is used to alleviative some of the symptoms then other learning difficulties such as dyslexia are easier to cope with.

Visual Stress is not dyslexia but is prevalent in dyslexic individuals. Even so, a significant percentage of children and adults who are not identified as being dyslexic still suffer with symptoms of Visual Stress.

Can You Treat Visual Stress?

Coloured lenses assist sufferers of Visual Stress with reading. They help remove any glare the person receives from the page, reduce fatigue when reading and increase reading fluency and comprehension. Some say that the colour of the glasses is dependent on the individual and may change over time. This is why it is important to receive an individual specialist assessment from a professional.

Treatments for Visual Stress

If you are suffering from Visual Stress or have a child displaying the symptoms, visit Eyesite today. Our specialist optometrists can help identify potential visual conditions including Visual Stress.