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Visual Stress, Migraine & Dyslexia

Flint and Partners has recently invested in new equipment rarely found in optometry practice, a Colorimeter, used in aiding those patients who suffer with Visual Stress, Migraine and Dyslexia.

Dyslexia is becoming increasingly identified as a significant cause of learning difficulties. Although not fully understood, many people who suffer from dyslexia may also suffer from poor near-focusing ability, and/or instability of their binocular vision system.

These vision problems can often be greatly relieved, by the use of colour filters. Colour filters can be as either colour overlays or colour filter lenses.

Here at Flint and Partners we examine both children and adults with dyslexia, to determine the nature of their visual deficiency, if there is any. If the problem is purely a binocular vision imbalance, if necessary, spectacles and/or vision training may be prescribed.

If however the problem lies deeper, in the area of the brain responsible for visual perception, then the examination becomes more subjective and the patient is asked which colour overlay makes reading easier to see. When there is a definite indication that a colour filter would benefit the patient, we prescribe a colour overlay for them to use.

This test is done by objectively checking the speed of reading with the colour overlay versus without the colour overlay. If the colour overlay proves helpful then the patient is said to have Visual Stress (Irlen-Meares Syndrome), and can then be further helped by wearing coloured spectacles lenses.

Symptoms of Visual Stress

All or some of the following symptoms may be present:

  • movement of printed text

  • blurring of printletters changing shape or size

  • patterns in the print which are sometimes described as worms

  • halos of colour surrounding letters or words

  • tiring easily whilst reading

  • headaches or visual discomfort

  • red, sore watery eyes

Signs of Visual Stress

  • Again all or some of the following may be present:

  • moving closer or further away from the book

  • moving the book around the desk

  • fidgeting continuouslyusing finders as a marker on the pages

  • kipping words or linesfrequently re-reading the same line

  • rubbing eye or blinking frequently when reading

  • poor comprehension of reading content

  • frustration and low self esteem


To determine the colour that is best suited for the patient to use in their spectacles a special instrument called a colorimeter is used. The colorimeter illuminates text with a specific colour, which is a specific hue, saturation and brightness.

With coloured spectacle lenses, the patient’s entire field of view is coloured, instead of just a small portion, as is the case when using an overlay. Consequently, the colour that works best with spectacle lenses is different from that of the overlay.

The patient is asked to look into the colorimeter at a script and tell the optometrist which combination of hue, saturation and brightness makes the script easiest to read.

Although colorimetry is highly subjective those dyslexia patients who are “colour sensitive” tend to show greatly improved reading speeds and reading accuracy using a colour interface such as the overlay or tinted spectacles.

Visual stress is not the same as dyslexia but is more common in patients that are dyslexic. People who fail to read because of visual stress are often mis-diagnosed as dyslexic. For this reason it is important that the existence of visual stress is identified at an early stage. Once visual stress has been alleviated, any remaining problems are easier to solve.

We can aid patients who suffer with Visual Stress, Migraine & Dyslexia

For many, many years I have been a regular visitor to Flint & Partners Optometrists. Throughout this time I have been totally satisfied with the advice and treatment I have received . Needless to say I would happily recommend Flint and Partners to anyone needing eye care or advice.

Ken Dutton

I recently visited Flint and Partners for my regular eye test and as always received wonderful care. I must commend your staff for their pleasant and helpful manner, it is always a pleasure to visit your practice.

Dorothy Mackie

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We offer private and NHS Eye Examinations, each tailored to the individual patient.

Using a combination of traditional methods and the very latest equipment, we aim to give you the best possible vision for all your requirements and ensure the health of your eyes.

Our optometrists each have only a small number of appointments per day, ensuring that every patient is given plenty of time and that all assessments can be done by the optometrist, not by unqualified staff.

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