Reading problems in children — could it be visual?

Have you noticed a reluctance in your child wanting to read? It may not be as simple as them not enjoying it, but rather, more to do with them struggling to read. Not to be mistaken for dyslexia, Visual Stress affects 20% of people to varying degrees. This condition causes visual discomfort when reading, often leading children to shy away from the activity.

Spotting the signs

Reading is the basis of many aspects of learning, which is why visual stress can have such a significant impact on your child’s ability to learn and develop both inside and out of the classroom. Signs of Visual Stress to look out for include:

  • complaints of text moving around
  • distracting patterns appearing
  • tiring quickly and/or showing frustration whilst reading
  • using a finger to follow text on the page


This can lead to headaches, migraines and low self-esteem, to name a few.

How is Visual Stress diagnosed?

It’s important to recognise that even if your child is experiencing reading problems and/or any of these symptoms, they may not necessarily have Visual Stress. This is why we always recommend booking children in for an eye examination first. Once we have ruled out any underlying eye conditions and prescription changes, we can then move on to discuss a Visual Stress assessment as the next step.

We will then conduct a colorimetry assessment to identify the specific colour, hue, brightness and saturation that can help your child the most with their reading and alleviate symptoms of Visual Stress.


After analysing the results and discussing them with you, we’ll be able to recommend various options that we believe will relieve their symptoms.


We can either fit and supply your child with Cerium precision tinted prescription lenses in glasses or as contact lenses, based on the colour produced in the assessment results. It is important to note that these colours are completely bespoke to the wearer and their preferences – what works for one person may not necessarily work for another.

Jarvis Optometrist in Dundee, are proud to be the only providers of this unique service in the local area. If your child is experiencing symptoms of Visual Stress, book them in for an eye examination today, and help them start their journey to achieving their full learning potential.