Visual Stress FAQs

What is Visual Stress?
How can Colour Help?
Will the lenses be the same colour as the Overlay?

These and many more Visual Stress questions and answers can be found below.

What are Visual Perceptual Distortions?

The term Visual Perceptual Distortions refers to a group of distortions that in some cases appear in printed text. These distortions are often perceived by individuals suffering from Visual Stress. The words appear to move or to blur, sometimes white “rivers” appear in the back white text. These are just some of the distortions reported by those who struggle with reading and who could be suffering from Visual Stress.
Different people experience different problems with text, but generally, they report difficulty with small repetitive black print on a stark white page. Distortions such as these, even though perceived, can often cause hesitation in reading. Some people demonstrate a slowing in or a need to cease reading. In some cases children may not wish to look at a book because of the distortions experienced can cause discomfort.  In some cases when a coloured overlay has been introduced the individual may they feel more comfortable viewing the text.

How do Precision Tinted Lenses work?

When wearing coloured glasses everything viewed is coloured, but many people adapt to it and make allowances for it. When using an overlay only part of what is viewed is coloured and the eyes will adapt to white light. The brain processes what we see and the two circumstances are very different. Research has shown that different people prefer different colours. To find the optimal colour for each individual the assessment needs to be carried out with the utmost precision. By using the Intuitive Colorimeter the exact colour and hue can be prescribed.

Will the lenses be the same colour as the Overlay?

Not necessarily. Scientific research has established that the appropriate colour of the chosen lenses may not be the same as that of the chosen overlay.  For example, an individual may choose a green overlay and benefit from blue lenses.  The lens colour should only be assessed by optometrists who have received training in the use of the Intuitive Colorimeters. Other methods of selecting precision tinted lenses may be less likely to achieve the optimal colour and give effective results.

Does the colour needed for Precision Tinted Lenses change?

Yes, (whether for overlays or precision tinted lenses) the colour can change over time, particularly in children. We recommend that children with visual stress undergo a colorimetry test every year. The lens colour is less likely to change in adulthood. Usually, colorimetry is only repeated for adults if they express that the benefit from their current colour is wearing off.

Should Precision Tinted Lenses be worn all the time?

A practitioner is unlikely to prescribe lenses for anyone who does not benefit from using them for literacy tasks. The individual should be free to wear their lenses for other activities should they find it helpful to do so. Activities such as reading music can be helped by using precision tinted lenses.  But no one should be coerced into wearing them if they do not wish to do so.  Some people suffer more severely from Visual Stress than others. The wearer is the best person to judge any benefit from wearing them for their other activities or outside.
The optometrist who prescribes the lenses will advise on wear time and use if appropriate. Colourimetry practitioners have access to dedicated computer software which allows them to calculate if precision tinted lenses are safe to wear outdoors. The Highway Code recommends that tinted glasses are not used for driving at night.

Will children need overlays or lenses permanently?

Some children do cease to use overlays or lenses after one or two years. This could be because they have acquired familiarity with text making the distortions less distracting. Other children, such as those who may suffer from visual stress and also photosensitivity, may derive on-going benefit from wearing their coloured lenses. Many adults will continue to use the lenses.

Can adults also be affected?

Yes, visual Stress is likely to always have been unknowingly present in some individuals who suffer from the condition. Some individuals do manage to struggle through their education without Visual Stress ever being identified. These people may find reading uncomfortable. Some may have wrongly been labelled as ‘dyslexic’
These people often report a feeling of relief from symptoms when they discover coloured overlays or Precision Tinted Lenses later in life. Some report that their working lives are improved by the ability to read more comfortably and at a quicker pace.
If you recognise any of the many symptoms of Visual Stress mentioned, it is never too late to be tested for the condition by a qualified Colorimeter practitioner.

Can Precision Tinted Lenses help with other conditions?

Precision tinted lenses may help to prevent migraine attacks. More often they enable patients to continue with their daily activities and to cope in uncomfortable environments.

Other neurological conditions have also been shown to benefit from using Precision Tinted Lenses. Research has shown that reading can, in some cases, improve significantly in those on the Autistic spectrum with the use of a precision colour.  Acquired brain injury sufferers have also, anecdotally, shown to benefit with a chosen colour.

This work is ongoing.

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