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Dyslexia and Visual Stress

How to take care of your visual stress (Computer Vision Syndrome- CVS) and dyslexia (Mears-Irlens syndrome)

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that primary affects the skills involved in accurate and fluent word reading and spelling. Visual dyslexia is how this learning difficult can be affected by your eyesight. The two researchers, Meares and Irlen, first discovered the connections between the white page "glare" and reading difficulties (its also named Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome). Those that have visual stress (CVS) can have many of the same issues, symptoms and problems. Although Visual Stress and Dyslexia can show the same symptoms its important to realise that they are different. Visual stress is not dyslexia but visual stress can affect dyslexics as well.

How do you know if you have visual stress (CVS) or dyslexia?

Visual stress and dyslexic (mears-irlen syndrome) can cause many different symptoms such as:

  • Blurred letters or words which go out of focus
  • Letters which move or present with back to front appearance or shimmering or shaking. (print distortion)
  • Headaches or eyestrain from reading
  • Reading difficulties
  • Rapid fatigue when reading
  • Poor spelling and reading
  • Poor judgement of depth
  • Poor hand-eye coordination
  • Words or letters which break into two and appear as double
  • Find it easier to read large widely spaced print than small and crowded text
  • Difficulty tracking across the page
  • Upset by glare on the page or oversensitive to bright lights
  • Experience difficulty looking at a computer screen

How sever these symptoms can be varies so don't worry if you think you do not meet all these symptoms. These symptoms can also occur despite having great vision. If you do have them you are amongst the 25% of the population that are affected by visual stress and dyslexia.  

Its common for you or someone you think is suffering to think that what you/they are experiencing is normal, which is what causes anxiety and lack of self confidence in yourself. 

If you are worried that someone close to you may suffer from dyslexia these are some signs to look for:

  • If they move work closer or further away from them
  • Restlessness (in particular computer or reading tasks)
  • Poor spelling and reading
  • Poor handwritting
  • Needing to use a finger or ruler as a marker
  • Accidentally skipping works or lines
  • Needing to blink excessively and rubbing there eyes
  • Low self-esteem (and low confidence in reading, spelling or writing tasks)

What can you do to reduce the symptoms?

If you have many of the symptoms above but are unsure if you are dyslexic, it is worthwhile either going to a specialist dyslexic centre of visit an opticians similar to the one we have here at Eyekit where you can be tested for dyslexia. Once confirmed, there are a number of options that you can consider:

Using Cerium Coloured Overlays 

These are basically coloured transparent sheets of robust plastic that you can use for reading tasks. However you need to be tested by your optician to see which colour overlay is for you as it varies from person to person. 

You need to use them continuously for about 6 weeks before you see a difference. 

We don't have Coloured Overlays available on our website yet but email: [email protected] if you would like a Cerium Coloured Overlay and we can order them for you.

Precision Tinting

As an alternative to coloured overlays you can use prescribed tinted lenses in glasses (with ot without a prescription). These will provide a precise and accurate colour tailiored specifically for you which can be much more convenient for you especially if you work on a computer. Again your optician will be able to determine the most effective colour match during your dyslexic test. 

Its important to note that the colour of the precision tinting can be different for the cerium coloured overlays so you cannot have your lenses tinted to the same colour you have your overlays as this will have little benefit.

We don't have Prescision Tinted Lenses available on our website yet but if you know the exact colour you want email: [email protected] and we can order them for you.

If you are in the local area and are worried you are suffering from either Visual Stress or Dyslexia then call us on 01937 835766 to set up an appointment with our optician, click here to find our location.

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