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Colorimetry & Visual Stress

Discover how colour may alleviate visual discomfort and visual stress.


Visual stress is a term used to describe visual discomfort and perceptual distortions in the printed text, suffered by many people who struggle to read. It is estimated that up to 20% of dyslexic people experience visual stress and also the general population in varying degrees. 


Colour has been known to make improvements to reading speed and accuracy. Colour overlays or tinted glasses or contact lenses may help enable longer periods of reading free of discomfort. 

Symptoms To Look Out For

The following symptoms indicate you may be suffering from visual stress: 

  • Tiring easily when reading 

  • Letters changing shape or size 

  • Halos of colour surrounding letters 

  • Red, sore, watery eyes 

  • Blurring of print 

  • Patterns on print. 

Colorimetry test
Young girl wearing glasses reading a book
Child suffering from visual stress

How Colour May Help

Is Colour The Right Solution? 

1. Eye examination 


People who show signs of visual difficulty when reading should be referred for a full eye examination.  

If symptoms of eye strain and/or visual stress are not helped by glasses, then an assessment of coloured overlays could be considered. 


2. Overlay assessment  


Our Optometrist can carry out an overlay assessment and may suggest that the patient try an overlay when reading for a few weeks, noting any improvements. 

Colorimetry Assessment

Colorimetry Assessment

The Colorimetry assessment may result in precision tinted glasses being prescribed to the patient. The colour will be more specific to each individual's needs. This is more precise than the overlay assessment and very often a produces a different colour to the overlay. Using coloured lenses means any benefit is gained looking at screens and are therefore more convenient and more practical than overlays. 

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