Oakwood Eyecare investigates the use of colour to help with children’s visual difficulties when reading. The use of colour has been shown to reduce symptoms such as glare, moving letters and flickering shapes or colours on the page.


Initially we use coloured overlays to place over text when reading. Research has found that one in five children will demonstrate an improvement in reading through the use of a coloured overlay.


If periods of discomfort free reading are achieved with coloured overlays, it’s an indication that a child may benefit from precision tinted lenses in their glasses.

Unlocking potential with colorimetry


Visual stress is a term used to describe visual discomfort and perceptual distortions in the printed text, suffered by many people who struggle to read.


The condition is estimated to be present in about 40 % of poor readers and in 20 % of the general population in varying degrees.

The following symptoms may indicate that you are suffering from visual stress:

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Tiring easily when reading

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Letters changing shape or size

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Halos of colour surrounding letters

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Red, sore, watery eyes

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Blurring of print

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Patterns on print

Little girl having an eye examination




Every child who shows signs of visual difficulty when reading should be referred for a full sight test. 

If symptoms of eye strain and/or visual stress are not helped by glasses or spectacle correction, then the next assessment of coloured overlays should be carried out to see if the visual stress can be alleviated with the help of colour.

Overlay Assessment for your children



Our optometrist can carry out an overlay assessment if this has not already been done in school.


We may suggest that your child uses an overlay when reading and then return within a few weeks, noting any improvements.

If the coloured overlays work, then an assessment with the Colorimeter would be the next stage to find what colour of spectacle lens would help.

Young girl having a colorimetry assessment




The Colorimetry Assessment may result in special glasses with coloured lenses being prescribed to each child. The colour will be more specific to each individual's needs.


This is much more precise than the overlay and very often a different colour to the overlay.


Coloured lenses are also much more convenient than overlays for computer work.