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Signs of Visual Stress

While visual stress has no scientific explanation, there are a number of generally agreed upon signs of Irlen Syndrome. While symptoms vary, sufferers of Visual Stress commonly experience headaches, eyestrain and experience words to jump or move on the page.

In young children, you should keep an eye out for external signs that they are suffering Visual Stress.

How to tell if your child suffers Visual Stress

Signs of Visual Stress in children while they are reading include:

  • Moving closer or away from the page
  • Becoming restless while reading
  • Using a finger or other item as a marker
  • Skipping words or lines
  • Rubbing of eyes
  • Excessive blinking

Frustration and low self esteem can occur in children who are underachieving due to Visual Stress. The longer it takes to identify and remedy visual stress, the greater the loss of confidence that can result.

General signs of Visual Stress include:

  • Low self esteem
  • Unusual sensitivity to bright lights, especially fluorescent lighting
  • Headaches and migraines when reading
  • Difficulty looking at a computer screens
  • Difficulty judging heights or distances

Things to ask your child

Here are some questions that may be helpful to ask your child:

  • “Do the letters stay still or do they move?”
  • “Are the letters clear or are they fuzzy/blurred?”
  • “Is the page too bright, not bright enough or just about right?”
  • “Does it hurt your eyes to look at the page or is it OK?”.
  • “After you have been reading for a while, do the words or letters do anything different?“

Signs of Visual Stress in children

It's important to keep an eye out for signs of Irlen Syndrome in children, as it can have a big impact on their ability to learn and engage with the written word. If noticed early, you can take steps to alleviate the condition. The sooner you can take steps to combat Visual Stress, the less negative impact it will have on your child's development.

If you think that your child is suffering from Visual Stress, there are ways to test and treat it.