Visual Stress

Pages of print can resemble a visually stressful pattern. Print can appear very ‘stripy’ and can be uncomfortable to look at. This discomfort is defined as ‘Visual Stress’.

It is thought that this visual stress is caused by a hyper excitability of neurones in the visual cortex. This means that some of the cells in the part of the brain that deals with processing of visual information work too fast or are ‘over excited’ and therefore do not respond in the way they should to process information in a normal fashion.

Complete the quick test

When you read, does this happen =

  • letters change, move or swim on the page
  • letters blurred, fuzzy or difficult to see
  • see bright-coloured text or images ‘flashing’
  • see shapes or patterns moving on the page
  • losing your place on the page
  • use your finger to keep your place
  • mis-reading words
  • missing out words,
  • focusing on rivers between the words, not the words themselves
  • words fade in  and out of focus
  • reading or writing numbers incorrectly

tiring quickly when reading

  • becoming fidgety
  • losing concentration
  • closing or covering one eye when reading


  • Do you get headache or brow-ache when reading?
  • Is the page too bright?
  • Does it hurt your eyes to look at the page?


If you answered yes to 5 or more of these questions – you may have visual stress.


Help for visual stress sufferers

Coloured spectacle lenses and coloured overlays have been shown to hugely benefit those with visual stress, dyslexia, headaches, migraines and photosensitive epilepsy.


What We Do

  • Eye tests assess problems with vision such as astigmatism.
  • Screening tests include a reading and spelling assessment and will show the probability of dyslexia in children and adults.
  • Coloured Overlay Testing to assess the need for overlays and the appropriate colour to use.
  • Diagnostic Assessments give in-depth advice on supporting learning.
  • DSA Study Needs Assessments for students in Higher Education.
  • Dyslexia training courses for personal and professional development.
  • Specialist dyslexia tuition for children and adults at any level of study.

Employment Support for employees with dyslexia.