Help and frequently asked questions

What is dyslexia? Can it affect my vision?


Dyslexia is a common learning disability that affects reading and spelling skills. Dyslexic people have problems decoding words, even when given adequate or additional learning opportunities.

It is important to note that while dyslexia is classed as a learning disability, it is not indicative of an individual's intelligence and people with the disorder range from high to low intelligence levels. Dyslexic people have difficulties with:

  • Phonological awareness: the ability to identify how words are comprised of smaller units of sound
  • Verbal processing speed: the time it takes to recognise and process verbal information
  • Verbal memory: the ability to remember verbal information sequences such as word lists

Dyslexia and the eyes

Between 35 and 40 per cent of dyslexic people are believed to experience visual problems and discomfort when reading print. Not only does this make reading very tiring, it can have a significant effect on an individual's reading ability. This can be particularly difficult to notice in children, as they may not be aware there is a problem. Here are some of the visual disturbances that may be experienced:

  • Headaches while reading
  • Blurred letters or words going in and out of focus
  • Shimmering or shaking letters
  • Problems tracking across the page
  • Oversensitivity to bright lights or page glare
  • Issues seeing text on white backgrounds
  • Difficulties reading small and crowded print
  • Preference for widely spaced, large fonts

If you or your children exhibit any of these symptoms, you should contact an eye specialist with expertise in this particular field. It is also recommended to seek help if your child is generally struggling at school, as dyslexia could be an underlying cause.

Treatment of eye problems relating to dyslexia

There is no cure for dyslexia, but there are potential treatments for visual disturbances linked to the disorder. Some people with reading difficulties have problems with eye co-ordination and focusing, which can be improved through eye exercises or glasses. Poor eye co-ordination - known as binocular instability - is diagnosed through tests. You may also find that reading against different coloured backgrounds or having coloured filters as an overlay to tinted glasses may mitigate problems relating to sensitivity to white and glared backgrounds. An eye specialist may conduct a test using an Intuitive Colorimeter. This is an instrument that will gauge the exact colour that is required for your tinted glasses to achieve the best results.

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