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Colorimetry & Visual Stress

Some people who struggle with their reading and/or writing may suffer from visual stress and it is these individuals who may benefit from the use of colour.

Research has shown that the use of colour can greatly improve visual comfort in people with visual stress. Other groups of people who may benefit from the use of coloured filters include those with reading difficulties, dyspraxia, certain learning difficulties, epilepsy and migraine sufferers.

Child suffering from colorimetry visual stress

What are the signs and symptoms of Visual Stress?

Symptoms of visual stress include:

  • Movement of printed text

  • Blurring of print

  • Letters appear to change size or shape

  • Patterns appear in print

  • Halos of colour surround letters or words

  • Tire easily when reading

  • Headaches or visual discomfort

  • Red, sore, watery eyes

Signs of visual stress include:

  • Moves closer to or further away from book

  • Fidgets continuously

  • Uses a finger as a marker on the page

  • Skips words or lines

  • Rubs eyes or blinks a lot when reading

  • Poor understanding of reading content

  • Frustration and low self-esteem

How to find out if colour can help

Everyone who displays problems with reading should be seen for a full eye examination to exclude the need for conventional spectacles. It is then necessary to look at the way the eyes work together (binocular vision) to see if eye exercises might help.


Although for some children, prescribing spectacles and eye exercises will solve the problem, there are many for whom this is not the answer. These children should be assessed to see if they would benefit from reading with colour.

Testing for visual stress

Eye tracking and colour assessment

Eye tracking is often affected in cases of visual stress, along with some binocular problems.


Until now, there hasn’t been a way to measure eye tracking in a clinical set up. However, Aves have just invested in a brand new computerised eye tracking system. This enables us to measure how well the eyes follow text when reading. After this measurement, a coloured filter assessment is carried out and eye tracking re-measured to assess the difference it makes to reading.

Use of coloured filters

If the use of colour is found to help reading, the colour selected can be used as a plastic overlay sheet or as tinted spectacle lenses, incorporating any spectacle prescription, if required.

Have a question? Call us on 01992 572302

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