What is Visual Stress and why do Dyslexics and poor readers suffer from it?

Dyslexics and poor readers frequently complain about words moving around on the page, or image7words missing, seeing funny colours and shapes on the page when they read. This makes reading difficult and frustrating. In addition, any kind of alternating pattern where the contrast is marked, triggers off some sort of visual disturbance.

Why does it do this?

The words on the page when they are a certain size, mimic a series of alternating black and white lines which the brain interprets as a pattern. In Dyslexics and some poor readers, the part of the brain responsible for vision; The Visual Cortex displays something called Visual Cortex Hyper Excitability. In other words, it’s very sensitive to alternating dark and light patterns.

Furthermore, words of a certain size trigger this off more than others. This is the basis for The Pattern Glare Test used by specialist optometrists to definitively test for Visual Stress in Dyslexics and poor readers.

10355553_913598522007796_5752541700544606784_o-290x220Another theory known as The Magnocellular Theory involves defects within the M-Cell pathway which is responsible for picking up striped patterns. This again results in difficulty picking up the words which slows down reading.

We recommend using both a coloured overlay, or tinted Dyslexia glasses to help with reading and also increasing the font size to N14 as this is generally accepted to help reduce the symptoms when reading.

For more information and help visit www.read123.co.uk or our facebook page at www.facebook.com/read123tutorials


Read123 are fully qualified UK optometrists with 10 years experience working for both independent and well known High Street Opticians. Their extensive experience examining the eyes of children from all ages has given them a unique insight into using colour to help reading problems in Dyslexics. They are members of The General Optical Council, The College of Optometrists as well as The Association of Optometrists.

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