All About Our Visual Stress Test and Why You Might Need One

One of last weeks afternoon clinics saw a large number of patients booked in for a visual stress test, which has inspired our 'find your colour campaign', which is all about increasing awareness of visual stress and dyslexia. We’ve answered some common questions surrounding our visual stress test to explain to you exactly what it is and why you might need one.

What is a visual stress test?

Our visual stress test, formally known as the colorimeter test, is carried out with the use of an instrument called the Intuitive Colorimeter, developed by Professors Arnold Wilkins and Bruce Evans in association with the Medical Research Council. It is carried out to determine whether you suffer from visual stress, with the aim of finding a suitable coloured overlay to relieve you of your symptoms.

What are the symptoms of visual stress?

Visual stress symptoms include physical discomfort when reading, such as headaches, eyestrain, and tiredness. Other symptoms include the moving of words on a page, the flipping of letters, blurring of text, random colours appearing, sensitivity to bright light, and difficulty judging space and distances. Visual stress sufferers may also find that the white background becomes the focus rather than the black text, causing difficulty in concentration.

Is there a link between visual stress and dyslexia?

Visual stress can accompany dyslexia, but this is not apparent in all cases and experiencing visual stress does not necessarily mean that you will be diagnosed with dyslexia. It is important to note that our visual stress test can not diagnose dyslexia. 


What happens during the test?

During the test you will be asked to look into the colorimeter instrument, in which you will see a piece of paper with text on, designed to cause visual stress. One of our optometrists Andrew or Roger will then test different colours over the writing to determine what colours, if any, help to ease your visual stress. The test will take approximately 25-30 minutes to complete.

What happens after the test?

After receiving your results, we can then prescribe precision tinted lenses, either as spectacles or contact lenses. There are in fact over 100,000 different colours and shades available to suit your needs. Improvements in your speed and accuracy of reading can then be measured by the “Wilkins Rate of Reading Testing” to ensure you are one hundred percent happy with your new lenses.

Are there any other alternatives to precision tinted lenses?

More and more people are choosing to rock precision tinted lenses nowadays, however, if you're not quite sure they're for you, there are alternative options in the form of overlays. Overlays are transparent coloured plastic sheets that can be placed over screens and paper, working in the same way as precision tints. We now stock overlay reading rulers on our website, which are small rectangular overlays designed to be discreet, portable, and professional looking. Our online store is designed to allow you to try out the different colours before buying, to ensure you're purchasing the right tint for you. This is a great way to test drive different colours before booking in for a visual stress test.

If you have any further questions regarding our colorimeter test or would like to book an appointment, then please give our friendly team a call on 01482 860362. Alternatively, you can book an appointment online. However, please note that you must have had a general eye examination in the past two years to help rule out any other possible causes of your symptoms.