Behavioural Eye Clinic - Visual Stress, Dyslexia, Autism, Migraines

Some people experience symptoms of visual perceptual distortions and eyestrain when viewing text, and this is often described as ‘visual stress’. Symptoms of visual stress include words appearing to move around or merge together when reading, patterns or shadows appearing within a block of text and a strong aversion to striped patterns.

The latest estimates are that visual stress is present in around 1 in 5 people with dyslexia, but although they may co-exist, visual stress and dyslexia are different conditions

If your child has vision problems that don’t get picked up, their learning may be significantly impacted. Click here to book a specialist appointment with us today.

Struggling to Read? Visual Stress

Do the words on a page move? If this is something your child says to you frequently they could have visual stress - sensitivity to visual patterns particularly stripes and the condition can interfere with reading. Visual stress symptoms can occur with normal vision. When describing the symptoms children often say that the words on a page move or jump, that they are blurry or explain that some have colours around them. Signs that a child is suffering with visual stress often include: moving closer or further away from the book, skipping words or lines, rubbing of the eyes, frequent blinking and poor understanding of the written content.

Vision plays a vital role in most people's lives every day - 80% of our sensory input comes through our eyes. This is especially true in school where eye coordination and vision problems can slow down progression. Too much effort is used up just trying to see correctly instead of thinking about the task being learnt.

Visual stress is more common in people who have dyslexia; however, people who struggle with reading due to visual stress can be misdiagnosed as dyslexic. Therefore, as soon as a person shows signs of visual stress it is important to try to identify it and treat it to avoid any further stress or lack of confidence in reading.

If you are concerned however that you or your child have learning difficulties, visual distortion or problems processing what you are reading including letter reversals, then you may need a more detailed specialist "behavioural eye examination" which looks more deeply at how you use your eyes and how they work together. If reading, writing, spelling or maths is a concern, then we may be able to help.

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