Visual Stress is a condition contributing to reading difficulties, eye strain and headaches when reading in many adults and children.Symptoms of visual stress include words appearing to move around or merge together when reading, patterns or shadows appearing within a block of text, and a strong aversion to striped patterns. Other distortions include blurring when reading, the movement of words and letter and the fading of print. Visual stress co-exists in some cases of dyslexia, albeit they are entirely separate conditions. If visual stress is diagnosed and treated, then other learning difficulties are often easier to cope with. However, many people who struggle with visual stress do not have any learning difficulties
Classic symptoms that patients report include, but are not limited to:
- 'Words move on the page.'
- 'When I read, I get a headache.'
- 'The page seems too bright and I cannot see the words properly.'
- 'Reading hurts my eyes.'
- 'I do not enjoy reading, or find it more difficult than my peers.'
Visual stress test pricing
The cost of a visual stress test is £85 on top of the routine eye test fee (£35). If you are eligible for a free eye test under NHS regulations, then the total to pay for the test is only £85. The test usually takes between 45 minutes and an hour. For further details please contact a member of staff either on email@example.com or 020 8423 5818.
Is this a test for dyslexia?
No. Whilst visual stress co-exists with many learning difficulties, including dyslexia, it is beyond the scope of this test to formally diagnose dyslexia.
Do I have to have a sight test first?
Struggling with reading can be linked to a wide variety of conditions and issues, and we usually only consider testing for visual stress once any other potential causes of visual difficulty have been addressed.
My child has been given coloured overlays by their school, is this the same?
Often, SEN departments and teachers give coloured overlays to their students, but as there is no formal testing involved, we have found that children often pick their favourite colours, and thus gain little or no benefit. The colour that helps is specific to each case, and there are different variations of each colour. The visual stress test helps to hone in on the exact colour, if any, that is most effective for the individual.
If a tint is indicated, do you recommend using it as a sheet overlay or in a pair of glasses?
Whilst both are possible, sheet overlays have several limitations: they scratch easily, they cannot be used on screens, and children often lose them easily. We find spectacles more effective.
I already wear prescription spectacles, can I have coloured lenses with my prescription?
Yes, we prescribe coloured lenses with and without prescription, depending on your requirements. The lenses are supplied to an exact specification by Norville, the UK’s longest established lens manufacturer, who have over 120 years of experience.
What are the chances this will help me/my child?
Anecdotally, we find that approximately two thirds of the patients who attend for visual stress testing note a significant improvement with coloured lenses, and about a quarter note no improvement. The remainder have only a small improvement. In all cases, the optometrist will demonstrate the difference with and without a tint and you will be provided with all the information you need in order to make an informed decision.