A systematic review of controlled trials on visual stress using Intuitive Overlays or the Intuitive Colorimeter

Evans, Bruce J. W. and Allen, Peter M. (2016) A systematic review of controlled trials on visual stress using Intuitive Overlays or the Intuitive Colorimeter. Journal of Optometry, 9 (4). pp. 205-218. ISSN 1989-1342

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Official URL: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.optom.2016.04.002


Claims that coloured filters aid reading date back 200 years and remain controversial. Some claims, for example, that more than 10% of the general population and 50% of people with dyslexia would benefit from coloured filters lack sound evidence and face validity. Publications with such claims typically cite research using methods that have not been described in the scientific literature and lack a sound aetiological framework. Notwithstanding these criticisms, some researchers have used more rigorous selection criteria and methods of prescribing coloured filters that were developed at a UK Medical Research Council unit and which have been fully described in the scientific literature. We review this research and disconfirm many of the more extreme claims surrounding this topic. This literature indicates that a minority subset of dyslexics (circa 20%) may have a condition described as visual stress which most likely results from a hyperexcitability of the visual cortex. Visual stress is characterised by symptoms of visual perceptual distortions, headaches, and eyestrain when viewing repetitive patterns, including lines of text. This review indicates that visual stress is distinct from, although sometimes co-occurs with, dyslexia. Individually prescribed coloured filters have been shown to improve reading performance in people with visual stress, but are unlikely to influence the phonological and memory deficits associated with dyslexia and therefore are not a treatment for dyslexia. This review concludes that larger and rigorous randomised controlled trials of interventions for visual stress are required. Improvements in the diagnosis of the condition are also a priority.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Visual stress, Coloured overlays, Colorimeter
Faculty: ARCHIVED Faculty of Science & Technology (until September 2018)
Depositing User: Professor Peter Allen
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2016 12:21
Last Modified: 04 May 2022 10:40
URI: https://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/700857

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