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Vision and Reading Clinic

The Vision and Reading Clinic specialises in the detailed visual assessment for children and adults who are having difficulties with reading.

Difficulties may result from uncorrected refractive error, poor co-ordination and/or focusing of the two eyes, or difficulties when viewing pages of black text printed upon white paper (often termed Pattern Glare, Visual Stress or Meares-Irlen syndrome). Whilst these problems can be found in children and adults with specific learning difficulties such as dyslexia, they can also affect individuals without specific learning difficulties.

Visual symptoms associated with difficulties reading may include some or all of the following:

  •     Blurred text
  •     Words appearing to move
  •     Text appearing to shimmer
  •     Words fading then reappearing
  •     Illusions of colour may be seen within the text
  •     Individuals may also experience sore eyes or headaches
  •     Individuals may have difficulty following sentences and may lose their place whilst reading

What to expect

Binocular vision assessment

When a patient comes for an assessment in the Vision and Reading Clinic they will have a full binocular vision assessment to look for any anomalies or dysfunction of the focusing and movement systems of the eyes. This will take between 1-2 hours. If any binocular vision anomalies are found they can be managed with eye exercises and/or a spectacle (or contact lens) correction.  Follow-up appointments may be needed over a period of a few weeks or months.

Coloured Overlays and Colorimetry

After binocular vision has been assessed and any required treatment prescribed, a coloured overlay assessment may be recommended if the patient is still symptomatic. Coloured overlays are A4 sheets of acetate plastic in ten different colours which can be combined to produce further colours. The overlays are designed to be placed flat on top of reading material to aid reading and they may help alleviate some or all of the symptoms detailed above in some individuals.

If overlays are found to be beneficial and are used successfully by an individual for a period of 3 months or more, a colorimetry assessment is recommended, to ascertain the specific lens colour required for spectacles to give the same effect as the overlay. The use of tinted spectacles is often found to be more convenient when viewing reading material from various sources such as VDU screens and for writing.

Important Point

Whilst we can help alleviate some or all of the visual symptoms experienced by many patients with dyslexia, we are not able to assess or treat dyslexia or any other Specific Learning Difficulty. We do see many individuals with these problems and the aim of the Vision and Reading Clinic is to minimize the effects of any visual problems associated with reading.  We cannot cure dyslexia but we can help a proportion of individuals overcome some or all of the visual problems that further hinder their reading capability.