Visual Stress – Fact or Fiction?

Visual stress; the new buzz phrase floating around. Is there such a thing or is it all just a myth?

Visual stress is very real, and is becoming far more common than ever before with symptoms such as eye strain, headaches and blurred vision featuring highly amongst individuals who have never had problems such as this before. Approximately 20% of the general population may suffer with it, and that figure increases to approximately 40% in poor readers.

The simple fact is that we are living in a digital age, where a plethora of screens and technology means a large part of our world often exists within 1 square meter. We use our eyes very differently now than we did just a few years ago. We pull out our mobile phones all the time, we use tablets and games consoles daily, and where face to face interaction was once the norm, communication is often now conducted from behind a screen. And all this from an increasingly younger age.

It’s makes sense then, that we would need to modify how we check the eyes, to allow for this change in use and subsequent change in symptoms.

Those with dyslexia may also suffer with visual stress – often the comments I get are “the words run into each other” or “I keep skipping lines on the page” or “the letters seem to move”.

Glasses may well help with a lot of these symptoms, whether you are dyslexic or not, however there are those people for whom regular glasses are just not enough.

Looking through colour for many people, has been found to increase visual comfort, reduce visual stress and improve overall visual performance. Using an Intuitive Colorimeter, we can present a range of colours across the visual spectrum, thousands of colour combinations in fact, and you choose which one feels the most comfortable for you.

I saw a 10-year-old the other day, and his colour was a deep orange. When reading, he said it stopped the words from moving around, and looking in the far distance, everything seemed so much clearer.

In contrast, one lady absolutely loathed orange; she said it made her feel anxious. Interestingly, she has never been diagnosed with dyslexia however as we were talking during the eye examination, we established that she had always disliked reading and never knew why. We have yet to find the most suitable colour for her, but we have given her some very specific reading glasses that make the world of difference.

As another example, I saw a 45-year-old man, whose only complaint was that his eyes felt tired all the time. He was drawn without a doubt, to a light pink. His comment was that looking through the pink lens just took the glare off everything. I guess the term “looking through rose-tinted lenses” really rings true!

So, symptoms can be very varied, but research, and my own experience in practice, definitely shows that colour can make quite an impact on an individual’s visual comfort.

If you think you have any of the symptoms mentioned or are simply curious as to whether a particular colour would help you function better at work, or perhaps help you function at all when you have migraine, colorimetry may well be worth exploring.

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