Visual Stress Therapy
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In this section, we look at Visual Stress, it’s causes, symptoms and treatments.
Most of this content is adapted from our partners at opticalm.ca. We recommend checking out their website as it is a wealth of information for those experiencing visual stress.
Visual stress is a problem with the brain’s ability to process certain visual information such as patterns, contrast and movement. These “trigger images” cause the brain to become overexcited and not function properly, leading to physical discomfort and perceptual processing difficulties. It can interfere with reading, attention, coordination, general behaviour and overall health.
Visual stress is a neurological condition, meaning the issue lies within the brain and not the eyes themselves. This is why it is often missed during regular eye exams.
Symptoms of Visual Stress
Commonly reported symptoms of visual stress include:
- headaches and pain
- light sensitivity
- distraction from glare and flashes
- mental fatigue and general frustration
- reading and attention difficulties
- dizziness and nausea
- cognitive exhaustion (“brain fog”) from the constant discomfort and image processing
- mood malaise and irritability from having to deal with all of the above
Treatment for Visual Stress
Symptoms of Visual Stress can be alleviated by removing or reducing the triggering images and by using coloured filters to soften their effects.
Removing or reducing triggers includes the many easy changes one can make to their everyday home and work spaces. For example, consider swapping out fluorescent lights for better lighting, covering surfaces that have high glare, or removing strong patterns from your décor.
Colour filtering is the act of reducing a particular frequency of light that is exacerbating the Visual Stress. By reducing the triggering colour in the image, a more relaxed visual state is achieved. This can be done in a few ways, including:
- Transparent Coloured Overlays:
Place them over books and other reading material for a more comfortable reading experience.
- Screen Colour-shifting Apps:
Apps on your computers and smart devices can shift the colour of your screens to a more comfortable hue, decreasing mental stress and fatigue while working.
- Precision Tinted Eyeglass Lenses:
For an all-round solution for everyday life, precision tinted lenses allow the wearer to view all aspects of life in a more comfortable hue.
Assessments for Visual Stress
If you or a loved one struggle with reading, learning, attention, migraine, concussion or head injury, you may be suffering from Visual Stress.