Visual stress is when the visual cortex (the visual processing area of the brain) is over stimulated due to sensitivity to visual patterns, for example lines of black text on white paper. Colourimetry refers to the use of coloured lenses to reduce the symptoms of visual stress.

When viewing a page of print, some people experience distortion and movement of the text, fading of print, blurring of print and/or appearance of difference colours and shapes. These disturbing visual patterns lead to headaches, light sensitivity, fatigue, reading difficulties and/or dislike of close work, which is referred to as visual stress. The severity of symptoms will vary between persons. It is hypothesised that visual stress is due to hyper excitation of neurons firing in the visual cortex of our brain. It is often related to reading, writing and computer tasks.

Both adults and children alike can be affected by visual stress. As we become accustomed to reading and writing, the task is more familiar to us and the condition may go undetected in adults.

By placing coloured filters over text or by wearing colour-tinted lenses in spectacles, many visual stress sufferers can experience a significant difference in their reading ability. Successful testing can dramatically improve reading accuracy, comfort and speed.

As the optimum colour of overlay is specific to each individual, the process involves trying different coloured overlays using an Intuitive Colourimeter. As soon as the ideal colour is determined, the overlays can be used directly over a page when reading or we can prescribe coloured lenses to be worn in spectacles, known as precision tints.

If you think you or your child could benefit from Colourimetry testing, please book an appointment to see David.