Independant Opticians and Contact Lens Practitioners in Ashford, Kent


Cecil House, Norwood Street, Ashford, TN23 1QT

Visual Stress
& Colorimetry

Could colour help you to experience better vision?

Visual stress (also known as Meares-Irlen syndrome) is a sensitivity to visual patterns. It is thought that these patterns, including those from text, can cause a hyper-activation of the visual part of the brain. This interferes with reading, but can be reduced by precise individual colour. Our Optometrists have expertise in diagnosing and prescribing aids to assist with visual stress for both Children and Adults alike.

I think I may be experiencing Visual Stress

Experiencing the following symptoms could be signs of visual stress

  • movement of the printed text
  • blurring of print
  • letters changing shape or size
  • patterns in the print
  • halos of colour surrounding the letters/words
  • tiring easily whilst reading
  • headaches or visual discomfort.

Unfortunately, not everybody will express the problems that they are experiencing. Therefore, there are some tell-tale signs that you can look out for which could mean a person is suffering. These are:

  • using a finger as a marker on the page
  • skipping words or lines
  • re-reading the same line
  • rubbing eyes or blinking frequently when reading
  • poor comprehension of reading content
  • fidgets continuously
  • frustration and low self-esteem.

Visual stress can be reduced by the use of coloured filters: either a coloured overlay placed over text or precision tinted lenses worn in spectacles. The reduction occurs only when the colour is selected to suit the individual. The selection of lenses is undertaken with the aid of the intuitive colorimeter. Appropriately tinted lenses frequently result in reading that is more fluent and comfortable. Those patients with diagnosed or suspected specific learning difficulty may find the use of precision tinted lenses or coloured overlays particularly helpful.

Step 1: Eye Examination

A full eye examination is recommended as the first step in diagnosing and aiding visual stress. An up-to-date examination allows your Optometrist to establish if there are any refractive errors or health problems with your eyes which may be affecting vision. If you’re under the age of 19 then your eye examination may be eligible to be funded by the NHS.

find out more about our eye examinations

Step 2: Overlay and Binocular Vision Assessment

Following an up-to-date eye examination, a more extensive assessment of the way the eyes function together can be carried out and any underlying issues addressed. Your Optometrist may suggest using an overlay and then returning within a few weeks, noting any improvements that result. Alternatively, in cases where the benefit from the overlay is clear immediately, the Optometrist may suggest moving directly to Colorimetry.

Step 3: Colorimetry

If overlays are beneficial, A Colorimetry examination can determine the exact colour (both shade and intensity) of lenses needed to reduce your visual stress. This colour will be more specific to your individual’s needs than that found in an overlay and is often even a different colour altogether. The precision tinted lenses can then be added to your choice of spectacles to give you a great combination of comfort and convenience.

Think colour may help your eyes?

Arrange your visual stress consultation with Brownbills today