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Difficulties With Dyslexia

Visual Assessments in Reading Difficulty and Dyslexia

Some people have difficulty in reading fluently and spelling. There are certain, often subtle, eye movement and vision problems that may be helped by eye exercises or spectacles, making reading more comfortable. These visual problems can be stand-alone, but research suggests they are more common in specific conditions such as dyslexia, migraine and autism. 


Whilst some people have good eyesight and eye movements, some will still experience difficulties when trying to read a page of print e.g. blurring, glare or movement of words or letters. This is called visual stress, or Meares-Irlan Syndrome. Research by the Medical Research Council and the Institute of Optometry has shown that these visual problems may be helped by the use of coloured overlays and precision tinted spectacle lenses, which in turn helps progress with reading.

The greatest reduction in symptoms occurs when the colour is specifically selected to suit the individual. Initially this can be assessed by the trial of coloured overlays placed over the printed text. If coloured overlays help, then coloured lenses in spectacles will be more practical in use, but for various reasons, the most effective precision tinted lenses are unlikely to be the same colour as the selected overlay.


A routine eye examination is necessary initially to assess the basic condition of the eyes addressing any refractive error or binocular instability which may help with patients’ visual stress symptoms. This is then followed, if indicated, by more specialised tests and procedures relating to the reading difficulty.


Our Market Harborough and Olney practices are equipped with Intuitive Colorimeters, specialist instruments which enable controlled variation of coloured light to assess the benefit of colour on reading for the individual, as well as other equipment to assess eye movements and muscle balance for the investigation of eye and vision problems. This consultation lasts approximately 1 hour, and it is helpful to bring along any relevant reports from Special Needs Teachers or Educational Psychologists. 


In 2019 we installed the newest generation of Colorimeter in our Market Harborough branch.


To make an appointment for a consultation, or for further information, please contact the practice of your choice.



Signs and Symptoms of Visual Stress (Meares-Irlen syndrome)


This can be explained as sensitivity to certain visual patterns, especially stripes. Patients may experience some or all the following:



·       Movement/wobbling of text

·       Blurring of print

·       Letters changing shape or size

·       Patterns seen in the gaps between words or lines of print

·       Halos of colour around letters or words

·       Tiring easily whilst reading

·       Headaches or eye irritation

·       Sore, watery eyes

·       Light sensitivity




·       Moving closer to or further away from the book

·       Fidgeting

·       Skipping words or lines

·       Slow, inefficient reading

·       Rubbing eyes and frequent blinking

·       Poor comprehension 

·       Frustration and low self-esteem










Difficulties With Dyslexia
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