Martin Steels, Optometrist and Contact Lens Practitioner. Your local opticians with practices in Emsworth (Hampshire), Storrington and Arundel (West Sussex)

Colorimetry SheetsColoured Lenses Intuitive Colorimeter
Intuitive Colorimeter

Visual Stress & Colorimetry

Visual Stress

Many children and adults suffer from visual discomfort when reading. This can affect reading fluency, concentration and comprehension and can cause rapid fatigue.

This Visual Stress can cause symptoms such as the apparent movement of print, rivers running through the print and headaches/eyestrain. Visual stress is often found to exist in conjunction with other conditions including; Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Photosensitive Migraine/Epilepsy, Autism and ADHD.


Research starting from the early 1990's has found found that many of the symptoms of visual stress can be alleviated simply by using tinted glasses or laying tinted sheets over the text when reading.

Colorimetry has been proven to help many people to overcome problems of visual stress. For children in particular it is very important to diagnose visual stress problems early, since their inability to read causes frustration, loss of self-esteem and poor performance at school. Early treatment is essential to boost their confidence and ensure that they do not fall behind in these critical years.

Colorimetry has also been shown to be beneficial for people suffering from conditions such as migraines, dyslexia and autism.

How Colorimetry works

Pages of print can resemble a visually stressful pattern. Print can be very “stripy” and for a lot of people can be uncomfortable to look at. This can be similar to looking at a very stripy shirt for a prolonged time.

It is thought that this discomfort when looking at the print is due to a hyperexcitability of neurons in the visual cortex (the part of the brain that processes vision). This means that some of the brain cells get over excited, work too fast and do not respond in the way they should.

We know that certain cells in the visual cortex are colour sensitive; by placing a colour in front of the eye the pattern of excitation can be changed. In other words the colour will help to slow and calm these cells therefore quieting the pattern and reducing the visual stress.

The colour needed to reduce the hyperexcitability is very precise and individual to each person.


Our Colorimetry Service

First Step - an Eye Examination

For anyone who is having problems reading, it is essential that they have an eye examination to ensure that their eyes are healthy and working correctly since some symptoms can be caused by physical defects in the eye.

This eye test can be free for qualifying NHS groups such as children under 16 years of age.

Colorimetry Assessment

A colorimetry assessment will then be made which takes approximately one hour to complete. The test is performed by the patient looking into a device called the Intuitive Colorimeter. This device shows a variety of different colour filters and allows our fully qualified optician to determine which colour is best at reducing any disturbances in the underlying text. It is sometimes beneficial for young children to bring along a favourite book to read during the test.


Once the test is completed, our optician will discuss the outcome and the possible courses of action be it via colorimetry or some other treatment. If a colour tint has been found to be beneficial, our dispensing optician will be able to advise on suitable frames and lenses that can be produced with the precise tint and correct prescription. Alternative solutions might include prescribing simple coloured overlay sheets.

Information and Advice

Assessments can be carried out by our colorimetry specialists at the Arundel practice. Unfortunately, unlike eye examinations, colorimetry assessments are not covered by the NHS. Please ask for information on pricing.

If you would like more information on colorimetry, visual stress and any of the conditions mentioned on this page then you can visit Cerium Visual Technologies who produce the Intuitive Colorimeter or contact us at the Arundel practice.