Dyslexia or Visual Stress

Dyslexia or Visual Stress?

Most people believe that people with reading difficulties suffer with dyslexia. However, some individuals are incorrectly labelled dyslexic. These people are more usually suffering from Visual Stress (also known as Meares Irlen Syndrome)

Colour has helped children and adults worldwide to improve reading, attention and with learning difficulties, as well as benefit good readers and gifted students.  It can also help people suffering with headaches, migraines and photosensitive epilepsy.

Symptoms can occur despite having ‘perfect’ eyesight, and vary between individuals.  It is thought that around 5% of the population are affected severely by visual stress, and 20% to a lesser degree, meaning that up to 1 in 5 people are not necessarily reaching their full potential when reading or working with computer screens.

What is Meares Irlen Syndrome?

Visual Stress (also known as Meares Irlen Syndrome) is a photosensitive syndrome that contributes to visual perceptual problems, impairs reading and can also be the cause of headaches, tiredness and nausea when reading or studying for prolonged periods of time, rapid fatigue and eyestrain.

It is also frequently involved in various neurological disorders that affect the visual cortex of the brain, such as migraine, photosensitive epilepsy, autism, multiple sclerosis, head injury and stroke.

People who suffer from this condition often find it difficult to focus on closely designed striped patterns such as certain font types.  They may also experience problems with glare and discomfort in bright daylight or sunlight and under fluorescent lighting.

Symptoms can occur despite normal vision.

Visual Stress can affect anyone, at any age, but is more common in conditions including dyslexia, dyspraxia, autism ADHD, photosensitive migraine and photosensitive epilepsy.

Dyslexia is a term that covers many sensory problems which affect learning and can be confused with Visual Stress.  Although they both affect reading performance, they are NOT the same condition.  People who fail to read because of visual stress are frequently mis-diagnosed as Dyslexic.  It is important that the existence of visual stress is identified at an early stage.  Once the visual stress has been treated, the remaining problems are more easily dealt with.