Visual Stress

Visual Stress is caused by a hyperexcitability of neurones in the Visual Cortex. This means that some of the cells in the part of the brain which deals with processing visual information are working too fast and not responding in the way they should.

As well as reading difficulties, Visual Stress also causes fatigue, lack of concentration, light sensitivity and headaches.

Within the Visual Cortex, some of the cells are colour sensitive. By placing a colour, in the form of a coloured contact lens, in front of the eye the cells are slowed and calmed to reduce Visual Stress.


Do I have Visual Stress?

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

Symptoms of Visual Stress include the following:


  Print that moves or blurs
  Letters changing shape or size
  Letters fading or becoming darker
  Patterns like “worms” or “rivers” running through the print
  Illusions of colour – blobs of colour on the page or colours surrounding letters or words
  Getting fatigued easily when reading
  Headache or eyestrain


  Moving closer to or away from page
  Using a finger as a marker
  Skipping words and lines
  Rubbing eyes and blinking excessively
  Low self esteem

Symptoms and signs of visual stress are not always immediately obvious. Many sufferers believe the discomfort they feel when reading or the distortions they experience on the page are “normal” and experienced by everyone. That is until they try correction with appropriate coloured  lenses and they realise that reading can become more comfortable and even enjoyable.

The simple application of correctly prescribed coloured  lenses 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.


Visual Stress and Dyslexia

Visual Stress is common among Dyslexic individuals, although it is a separate condition from Dyslexia. If Visual Stress is identified and colour is used to alleviative some of the symptoms this can benefit Dyslexics.

However, symptoms of Visual Stress can also be the product of ocular anomalies such as refraction problems or the inability of the eyes to work in unison. Such anomalies can often be rectified by prescribing refraction spectacles or exercises. It is therefore very important that ocular problems are thoroughly investigated before proceeding with a Colorimeter examination – so it’s important you contact a reputable optometrist.

Arrange an Appointment

Parkstone Practice

If you would like to arrange an appointment
please call us on:

Tel: 01202 741963

We are open:

Monday to Friday
(excludes bank holidays)

8.45 am to 1.00 pm
2.00 pm to 5.15 pm
8.45 am to 12.45 pm