Visual stress, sometimes referred to as Scotopic Sensitivity or Meares Irlen Syndrome, is a term used to describe a condition with an array of symptoms which may include reading difficulties, print distortion, rapid fatigue when reading, light sensitivity and headaches from exposure to disturbing visual patterns.
In the early 80s, Olive Meares, a school teacher from New Zealand and Helen Irlen, a psychologist from California, separately described how students with visual perception difficulties were aided when reading through coloured filters.1,2 In the late 1980s, Arnold Wilkins, as part of his research into photosensitive epilepsy, developed the Intuitive Colorimeter facilitating the first of several subsequent randomised double-blind studies which have repeatedly shown that coloured filters help reduce the symptoms of visual stress. Since every person has a specific colour filter that works best for them, the Intuitive Colorimeter3 was the first mechanised way of ascertaining the optimal hue, saturation and luminance for each person.
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