A resource to centralise information about the screening, assessment and provision of coloured lens glasses in England.

Screening Test for Visual Stress

Screening Test for Visual Stress:Parent-Teacher method for identifying signs and symptoms of  Visual Stress

How can parents or teachers identify visual stress?

There are many signs that can help spot that someone is experiencing visual difficulties associated with reading. Here are some examples, please note that not all of them may be present, but they may include:

–        moving closer to or away from the page and frequently changing their head and body position

–        frequently looking away from the page

–        yawning

–        using their finger to trace the line of text on the page

–        rubbing their eyes

–        blinking excessively or strangely

–        reading slowly and haltingly

–        frequently re-reading the same line

–        not understanding what they have just read

–        frustration and low self-esteem

If you have noticed  someone doing/experiencing any of the above, or are experiencing symptoms like those described in the “What is Visual Stress” section, then it may be due to visual stress or a visual problem. The first stage is to seek an eye examination with an eyecare practitioner, typically an optometrist who has specialised in vision and learning and follow their recommendations. Glasses may take care of your problem, and an overlay assessment may not be needed.

A simple way to identify if a child maybe experiencing visual stress is simply by following these instructions which have been designed as a Parent-Teacher tool to check for signs and symptoms of Visual Stress Screening Protocol for TeachersScreening Protocol for Parents to perform the Screening Test. This test has kindly been developed for your use by Helen Irlen, Dr Sue Fowler, Sue Soan, Roger Hall, Carole Vince, Dr Jens Beckmann, Professor Joe Elliott, Professor Bruce Evans, Liz Ashby, Caroline Penollar, Professor Arnold Wilkins and Professor John Stein.  This straightforward test will quickly indicate whether an individual is experiencing reading difficulties. If any of the questions are responded to with ‘yes’, particularly in relation to the first five, the first step is for the individual to have their eyes tested by an optometrist (see “get your eyes tested” section).  After the eye test and following any recommendation to correct your vision, it is possible to visit someone who specialises in coloured lenses/ filters: for more information on subsequent formal screening processes please refer to the “Assessment for coloured lens glasses” and “Providers of coloured lens glasses” section for additional information.

– Wilkins, A. (2003). Reading Through Colour: How coloured filters can reduce reading difficulty, eye strain, and headaches. John Wiley & Sons: Chichester.

–  Irlen, H. (1991), Reading by the Colors. New York; Berkeley: 2005

–  Irlen, H. (2010), The Irlen Revolution: A Guide to Changing Your Perception and You Life. New York; SquareOne Publishers

– http://www.dhthomas.co.uk/colorimetry.html

– http://www.irlenuk.com


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