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Exploring the use of colour to alleviate symptoms of visual stress, which often occur in both adults and children when reading

Colorimetry Testing

A brief introduction to Colorimetry

Colorimetry is an instrument developed by Professor Arnold Wilkins and the Medical Research Council.  


It is used under the direction of an Optometrist to logically and sequentially explore colour space to find the optimal precision tint for the relief of perceptual distortions, commonly known as visual stress.

What is visual stress?

Visual stress refers to reading difficulties, light sensitivity and headaches from exposure to disturbing visual patterns. It can be responsible for print distortion and rapid fatigue when reading.


The severity of these symptoms can vary from person to person. The symptoms can occur despite normal vision. 

Symptoms of visual stress are not always immediately obvious. Many individuals who suffer from this condition believe the discomfort they feel when reading or the distortions they experience on the page are “normal” and experienced by everyone. 

The simple application of an overlay at an early stage could save years of anxiety and prevent the downward slide in confidence which occurs in most cases where children struggle to read.

Many people with Dyslexia may also suffer from visual stress and can, therefore, be helped by colour. 

What happens in a Colorimetry test?

The tint is selected rapidly and efficiently in an examination lasting about 20-30 minutes carried out by a specialised practitioner.

The optimal colour which will benefit each individual can change over time, especially with children. It is therefore very important that the patient visits the specialised Optometrist regularly for re-evaluations.

The overlay assessment can be carried out, by Brosgill Opticians, at our Street Lane and Ilkley branches to screen pupils who exhibit symptoms of visual stress.

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