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What is Visual Stress?

Around 30% of the population are uncomfortable with black text on white backgrounds. Visual stress is common in dyslexia and some other SpLDs (a specific learning difficulty) but can exist on its own as well. It can be found in children as well as adults.

Simply explained, Visual Stress is a sensitivity to visual patterns, particularly stripes. The symptoms can occur despite normal vision.

One current scientific explanation is that the perceptual problems are due to a hyperactivation of the visual cortex of the brain, particularly in more anterior visual areas, which is reduced by precise individual colour.

Symptoms most commonly arise when someone with the condition is trying to read paragraphs of black text on a white background. This light reflected back from the page contains all the wavelengths of light in the visual spectrum.  In visual stress, the brain is unable to process the full spectral of light. Using colour (overlays or tinted lenses) will selectively reduce the input of certain wavelengths of light and allow the brain to process visual information correctly.

How to reduce Visual Stress

We strongly suggest that you always seek a professional opinion to get to the underlying cause of your Visual Stress.

Here are some helpful tips that you can use to reduce visual stress:

  • Changing the background colour, font colour or both, can be hugely helpful in reducing visual distortion.
  • Using coloured writing pads and different coloured pens/pencils can also have a great effect on memory retention. Our Student Solutions Visual Memory Aid refill pads are perfect for this and come in a variety of colours.
  • By using different coloured tinted overlays(such as our Ormond Tinted Overlays). It can help to mask surrounding words and increase concentration.
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