How Colored Overlays Work To Reduce Visual Stress

by Pat Wyman on September 14, 2012

A reading specialist and college professor Pat Wyman shares how colored overlays work to reduce visual stress.


Colored overlays are a long proven solution to many reading problems and this article is about how colored overlays work to reduce visual stress.

“As a reading specialist I have used colored overlays with my students for over 30 years to improve their reading abilities and reduce visual stress. Back in the early days we used to use colored film that went over theater lights says Pat Wyman, reading specialist and college professor.”

How Colored Overlays Work To Reduce Visual Stress

The brain processes visual information but sometimes that information gets distorted. For example, people can get headaches and feel tired quickly when it is hard to read. Visual stress occurs when for example, a person has to read and re-read material several times to understand the meaning.

If you experience any of the following you may benefit from using colored overlays to relieve the visual stress and headaches you feel. Colored overlays can also clear up the distortion that you see on the printed page. Check to see if you experience any of the following:

* don’t see the punctuation at the end of sentence

* skip lines

* omit or add words that were not in the sentence to begin with

* get tired when you read

* can’t recall what you just read

* hate reading altogether

* print blurs occasionally

* have to use your finger to follow the sentences smoothly

All of these things can create visual stress and colored overlays which change the wavelength of light to the eyes/brain, can reduce visual stress and other problems that cause visual stress.

While Wyman also recommends vision therapy and the Eye-Q Reading Inventory, she notes that colored overlays, even placed over the computer screen quickly minimize visual stress.

“I use colored overlays myself to reduce the fatigue I often feel at the end of a long day on the computer,” said Wyman.

As an author, I find that the yellow colored overlays reduce my visual stress such that my eyes feel relaxed even after I’ve been reading all day – as long as I’ve used colored overlays!


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