Part of crossboweducation.co.uk
Visual stress resource centre Reading with visual stress

In a survey last year five "Good Readers" were assessed for visual stress, as part of a wider project taking place in a primary school using the Visual Stress Assessment Pack.


None of these were anticipated to have any visual stress issues, and the staff were unaware of any dyslexic traits. All were screened with CVSA (Cossbow Visual Stress Assessment Pack).

The results follow:
Yr 2 boy: Felt that none of the overlays made reading easier.


Yr 4 girl: Said that "Grass" overlay helped, and "Double Grass" helped more. Comment: Black on white hurts my eyes, and the letters move. Reading without overlay: 67 seconds, with Double Grass:  52 seconds = 29% faster reading. Still using overlay after first month. WIAT-II UK(T) scores:  Word reading=68%ile, Reading comprehension=87%ile, Spelling=87%ile


Yr 4 girl2: Said that "Orange" overlay helped Comment "Just easier to see, and clearer".  Reading without overlay: 75 seconds, with Orange: 53 seconds = 40% faster reading. Reading without overlay: 67 seconds, with Double Grass:  52 seconds = 29% faster reading. Still using overlay after first month. WIAT-II UK(T) scores:  Word reading=68%ile, Reading comprehension=91%ile, Spelling=77%ile. Still using overlay after first month.I discussed with mother how an incorrect colour may trigger a headache (Prof John Stein research): She mentioned that she was an expert on headaches, as son 6 had been exhaustively tested at hospital for frequent headaches and migraines, which had caused frequent absences from school. Headaches were fewer in holidays, and started around time he started school. Eyesight tested normal, brain scans and other tests detected nothing abnormal. Stress investigated, but appears to enjoy school.  I screened son:  Magenta+Purple led to an immediate very clear improvement in reading fluency, and a comment that "this doesn't hurt my eyes".  I have given this child an overlay set, and will keep in touch.


Yr 5 G: Felt that none of the overlays made reading easier.


Yr 6 G: Commented that with a Jade overlay "the text seems clearer - it is sort of fuzzy usually". Reading without overlay: 96 seconds, with Jade:  77 seconds = 25% faster reading. Still using overlay after first month. An interestingly wide discrepancy between her reading comprehension (SS108) and spelling (SS98):  Without an overlay, she demonstrated difficulty in spotting additional, transposed or omitted letters. With an overlay, she spotted over half of these errors, and parents are now considering a full ophthalmologist assessment.  Her father reports "frequent headaches the morning after reading the night before" and "can't drive without Polaroid glasses". He tried the overlays and was very surprised to find how much clearer words became when using an "Aqua" overlay. He is pursuing further reading into this whole area with interest, as thinks it could make a huge difference to him, as well as to daughter.


Summary: 2 out of 5: No improvement.1: 40% faster reading1: 29% faster reading1: 25% faster reading.All three reported easier on the eyes/less fuzzy/clearer

What is interesting about these results is how surprising they were, suggesting that many children who appear to be succeeding are actually not fulfilling all their potential.