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Dyslexia is influenced by many factors not least the visual system. Problems such as incorrect focusing of the eye, poor muscle co-ordination or insufficient muscle strength all have an influence.


In addition the impact of the use of coloured overlays can have a profound effect on a child with dyslexia. This phenomenon is referred to as Meares/ Irlen syndrome or Visual Stress.


Could this be your child?

  • States words move when he/she tries to read.
  • When reading the page becomes blurred.
  • He/she loses her place easily when reading.
  • Leaves out words or lines when reading.
  • When copying he/she makes more mistakes than you would expect.
  • Poor spelling.

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Bater Opticians - Dyslexia
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Bater Opticians - Dyslexia
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Dyslexia chart overlays

Coloured overlays have been shown to reduce visual stress and increase reading fluency in about 20% of school children. There is doubtless more than one reason, and placebo effects probably contribute. In 5% of children the increase in speed with overlays is greater than 25%.


A variety of controlled trials have shown that placebo effects are not a sufficient explanation for the increase in reading speed. Coloured glasses have been shown to reduce headaches in open trials and also in two small scale trials using a double-masked protocol . The colour optimal for overlays differs from that optimal in lenses. The shade usually has to be selected with precision in order to obtain beneficial results.


To see the results of our review into the the most common visual factors involved in reading difficulties caused by the Meares/Irlen syndrome (Visual Stress), please click here (PDF).


For further information on dyslexia, click here to visit Professor Arnold Wilkins' website.