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Back to school: Visual Stress Assessments for children

September 2019

Does your child struggle with or avoid reading? You might think they just prefer to play video games or watch TV, but the truth is they could be suffering from Visual Stress, which can cause them discomfort and difficulties while reading.

What is Visual Stress?

Visual stress is often linked with dyslexia, but these are actually two very different conditions. It is often assumed that children with reading difficulties have dyslexia, but it may simply be visual stress that is affecting them, which can be assessed and treated differently. It is entirely possible to have visual stress without dyslexia, or dyslexia without visual stress, as well as having dyslexia with signs of visual stress!

Visual stress is not always obvious and often goes unnoticed. Symptoms include: words appearing to move or patterns appearing, headaches when reading, and quickly becoming tired when reading. Some common markers of visual stress are needing to follow the text with a finger, becoming restless when reading, missing words or lines and rubbing the eyes.

How can visual stress be treated?

If you are concerned your child may have visual stress, the first step is to get a diagnosis. A colorimetry assessment can be used to test and treat children with reading difficulties caused by visual stress. The test involves using different coloured overlays over text to see what colour most improves reading speed and accuracy. At Juul & Payne opticians in Bristol, our Intuitive Colorimeter is programmed with 100s of colours to see which works best for your child.

Once we have established the most effective colour and hue, we can provide coloured overlays to use on flat text such as books, or visual stress glasses that will also work on whiteboards and screens. The idea of wearing precision tinted visual stress glasses might not appeal to your child at first, but once they realise they will be relieved of their headaches and tiredness, the prospect will become much more appealing.

The colorimetry test can be carried out alongside a school vision assessment at our opticians in Bristol. The school vision test looks at how the eyes work together, assessing aspects such as dominant eye, light sensitivity, muscle balance and reading speed. Together, these two assessments and their findings can truly help to increase a child’s overall performance at school and in turn, their confidence. Find out more or contact us directly today.


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