Did you know your optician can help with your dyslexia?

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Dyslexia is a common learning difficulty that predominantly affects the ways in which sufferers read and write. However, despite being considered a learning difficulty there is no proof that dyslexia affects an individual’s intelligence. In fact, sufferers are often intelligent AND creative.

Common visual problems in dyslexia include poor co-ordination of the two eyes (binocular instability), difficulty focusing on near objects (accommodation) and Visual Stress Syndrome. The main symptoms of visual stress include:

  • Movement of printed text
  • Glare from text on page
  • Headaches and sore eyes when reading
  • Excessive blinking or rubbing of eyes
  • Poor concentration when reading
  • Difficulty tracking words

Recent research suggests that visual stress is caused by hyper – excitability of the neurons in the visual cortex of the brain. It has been proven that the application of colour to text can settle down background noise in the brain. This allows a sufferer to read more comfortably.

Studies have also shown that colour can also help individuals with autism and brain injuries to read more easily, and also to alleviate the glare sensitivity in migraine sufferers.

“The Vision Clinic, Harrow has been our family optician for 30 years. The service is always brilliant.

 “They really do help and have solved the problems I was having with bad after visions, headaches and dull pains in the backs of my eyes. I had had several tests at the hospital- all coming back with no conclusion as to the problem. However, my optician suggested a test to see if tinted lenses would help. This fixed the problem successfully. As well as this, it has stopped me from having migraines and I have been able to see the board at school much clearer, which has been of great help through my GCSEs and A-levels”.

Rosie Herridge

What does the assessment involve?

The assessment is designed to detect any visual factors which may be contributing to you or your child‘s difficulties. These may or may not be related to any diagnosed specific learning disability. In fact it has been estimated that visual stress occurs in about 40% of poor readers.

During this test our optician Tanveer will check the co-ordination of the two eyes (binocular vision) and your ability to focus on text clearly when held close (accommodation). If either or both are weak she may recommend simple eye exercises to be done at home.

Tanveer will then test for Visual Stress using a coloured overlays test performed on a computer. To determine the optimum colour, she will ask you to look at a sample of text displayed on the screen whilst the colour of the background is changed. She will then ask you which colour is most comfortable or minimises your symptoms. The effectiveness of the colours is assessed using the Wilkins Rate of Reading test.

Finally, Tanveer will give you a coloured overlay (a sheet of translucent coloured plastic) that matches your chosen colour to use in everyday life. Our optician will then arrange a follow up four to five weeks later to determine how effective the exercises or coloured overlays have been.

Precision tinted spectacles can be more useful for individuals who successfully use coloured overlays as they can be used for additional tasks such as writing or computer use.

For more information about Coloured Overlays and the Wilkins Rate of Reading Test please don’t hesitate to get in touch below.