Caring for all your family's vision needs, since 1996


A specialist vision service, from Alex Gage

About Colorimetry in optometry

The Intuitive Colorimeter was designed by Professor Arnold Wilkins at the British Medical Research Council in 1993.

The discovery of the underlying photosensitive condition of Visual Stress had not previously been recognised by vision professionals as a problem that could prevent learning, and that required diagnosis and treatment.

The Intuitive Colorimeter was scientifically designed to present sequentially the colours in colour space, thereby allowing the patient to swiftly identify the precision colour to best alleviate their symptoms.

Working in conjunction with vision specialists like us, the patient is able to define the optimal setting where visual comfort is noted. The final optimal chosen colour can be prescribed into Precision Tinted Lenses which may reduce or eradicate symptoms of Visual Stress.

What is Visual Stress?

Visual stress is a term used to describe visual discomfort and perceptual distortions in printed text and is suffered by many people who struggle to read. The condition is estimated to be present in approximately 40% of poor readers and 20% of the general population.

Many thousands of individuals who find reading tiring and unpleasant, unknowingly experience visual stress. They have to work harder than their peers to achieve the same outcomes, often with extra tuition. Many could be helped by overlays or Precision Tinted Lenses.

In many cases, the symptoms of Visual Stress can be reduced by the use of coloured filters: a coloured overlay placed over text or coloured lenses worn in spectacles. Research has shown that offering a large number of colours allows for optimal results. Our Curve Colorimeter offers many thousands of colour combinations and offers true precision to the patient.

What are the symptoms of 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 and can include:

  • movement of print
  • fading of print
  • letters changing shape or size
  • letters fading or becoming darker
  • patterns appearing, sometimes describes as “worms” or “rivers” running through print
  • illusions of colour – blobs of colour on the page or colours surrounding letters or words
  • rapid tiring
  • headache or eyestrain

What are the signs of visual stress?

  • moving closer to or away from the page
  • becoming restless when reading
  • using finger as a marker
  • skipping words and lines
  • rubbing eyes and blinking excessively
  • low self esteem

Symptoms of Visual Stress are not always immediately obvious. Many individuals who suffer with this condition believe the discomfort they feel when reading or the distortions they experience on the page are “normal” and experienced by everyone. That is until someone presents them with an appropriate colour and they realise that reading can become more comfortable and even enjoyable.

How Colorimetry helps

The Intuitive Colorimeter was scientifically designed to present sequentially the colours in colour space, thereby allowing the patient to swiftly identify the precision colour to best alleviate their symptoms.

From simple improvements in reading speed to dramatic transformations in quality of life, Precision Tints offer a wide range of potential benefits.

Research has shown that offering a large number of colours allowed for optimal results for the patient. Our Colorimeter offers many thousands of colour combinations.

What next?

If you are showing any of the symptoms above, your first port of call should be a primary eye examination that will check for the existence of refractive errors, such as long or short sight or astigmatism. It is free of charge to school aged children under NHS provision. It is important to rule out or treat other vision deficits before testing for Visual Stress.

Once an eye examination has been carried out, we may then test for the existence of Visual Stress. At this point we may use an overlay as part of the testing procedure.

Whilst coloured overlays are useful when reading from a book, precision tints are more convenient when copying from the board or from another book or for those individuals who are particularly light sensitive and may develop headaches and eye strain when attempting to read.

If Visual Stress is found to exist, we may suggest prescribing precision tinted lenses as a longer term aid.

Please call us on 0114 266 7066 to discuss your needs, or take a look at these websites for more information – colorimetry in general and precision tinted lenses.

Take a look at this video of the Intuitive Colorimeter™ here