How Does Visual Stress Affect Children?
Kids are back at school, and after such a long break it may take them a while to get back into the swing of things. Not all problems are just down to a preference for video games or YouTube over schoolwork, though! Visual stress is something that affects at least 20% of the UK and can make learning and studying harder for children. A visual stress test and, if necessary, treatment such as visual stress glasses, could help your child to reach their full academic potential and make school life much easier in general.
What Is Visual Stress?
Visual stress, also known as Meares-Irlen Syndrome, is sometimes linked with dyslexia, but it is a condition in its own right and often affects children who are not dyslexic. It causes visual discomfort when trying to read and can put children off reading and impact their learning. There are a number of signs of visual stress, including:
- headaches and eye strain after reading for a short time
- text appearing to move on the page
- needing to use a finger to follow a line of text
- becoming distracted by patterns when reading
- fidgeting, squinting and a reluctance to read.
If your child displays any of these symptoms, it is worth booking them in for a visual stress test.
Treatment for Visual Stress
The first step is to carry out a full eye exam to rule out any other potential problems, like vision correction. Next, we use a series of tests including a colorimetry assessment – you can find out more about what is included in the full assessment here.
Research has shown that colour can be used to alleviate symptoms of visual stress, so the colorimetry, performed using an advanced piece of equipment called the intuitive colorimeter is used to identify which precise tint, out of thousands of combinations, is most effective in helping children to read with more ease.
Once this has been identified, we can look at the best form of treatment. Coloured overlays can be used when reading from a page, but many students find specialised visual stress glasses which have tinted lenses are most helpful at school, as they can then read the board more easily too. We can even offer tinted contact lenses, if preferred.
This isn’t an overnight cure, but rather a management method for visual stress, which is why more than one visit is needed to see our optometrist so they can continue to assess and monitor your child’s progress and improvement in reading. We encourage parents to enrol their children onto our Visual Stress Treatment Programme, as their appointments will then be covered at a set monthly fee.
Children who have been diagnosed with visual stress and have gone through our programme have been able to enjoy increased self-confidence and fluency when reading, as well as reduced or eliminated headaches, allowing them to develop at the same rate as their school peers.
Book an Assessment
If you think your child could benefit from tinted glasses for visual stress or you’d like to find out more, contact us to discuss your child’s symptoms and book an assessment today.