Problems with eye sight can greatly hinder a child’s progress at school, but these problems are not always resolved with ordinary glasses.
In recent years, “visual stress” has been identified as contributing to reading difficulties in many children and adults.
The condition, which is related to light sensitivity in disorders such as migraines and epilepsy, can be responsible for distortions on the printed page, especially when black print contrasts sharply with the bright white background of the page.
Visual stress can be a major part of the problem in poor readers including those who are labelled ‘dyslexic’. If visual stress can be identified and treated, any remaining difficulties become easier to deal with.
Visual stress can also cause headaches and eye-strain. It can do so not only in poor readers but also in those whose reading is otherwise normal.
Classic complaints are:
- “Words are moving around on the page”
- “When I read I get a headache”
- “The words are blurred”
- “The page is very bright and I cannot see the words properly”
- “Reading hurts my eyes”
Lots of people found to be Visually Dyslexic have been highly talented, like Mozart, and Sir Anthony Hopkins. But if not dealt with, these sight difficulties can lead to a child being considered of low ability. The problem can make it hard for sufferers to concentrate, which in turn can lead to frustration and isolation.
At Chase Eyecare Opticians, we are specially trained to examine children and adults for Visual Stress and Dyslexia. Scientific research has shown that visual stress from reading can be reduced by colouring the page using spectral filters. The filters are either placed directly over the page (these are known as coloured overlays) or they are worn in spectacles (precision tints). The colour is specific to each individual and has to be specially selected.
What can we do?
Mr Puri says: “A child’s life can be horribly impacted by visual stress and dyslexia, so it is vital that assessment is sought immediately, allowing us to select the correct treatment. It is nothing for your child to be afraid of. We’ll give a full eye examination, followed by testing to select the appropriate tint. When the right tint is found, things suddenly become clearer and more comfortable – it can feel miraculous for the patient, especially is they have struggled for some time. If you notice your child regularly struggling to read, rubbing their eyes, becoming quickly tired and frustrated or complain about words moving, please contact us immediately.”