Visual Stress and its Relationship to Dyslexia

Chris Singleton

in Visual Aspects of Dyslexia

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199589814
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191744785 | DOI:
Visual Stress and its Relationship to Dyslexia

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This chapter reviews current knowledge on visual stress, a condition characterised by visual-perceptual distortions and asthenopia when viewing text, impairing skilled reading. Visual stress is more prevalent amongst dyslexics than the rest of the population, raising important issues about the neuropsychological relationships between the two conditions. A computer-based screening system for visual stress that compares visual processing under varying conditions of symptom provocation has enabled objective identification of this condition and supports the view that an individual’s degree of impairment is an idiosyncratic function of visual cortical responses to textual features, rather than being attributable to dyslexic-type difficulties in word recognition. Hypothesised aetiological links between dyslexia and visual stress are rejected in favour of the conclusion that the reading style of dyslexics, which makes them more sensitive to the physical characteristics of text, shifts their neurological threshold for visual stress, increasing the risk of experiencing symptoms.

Keywords: visual stress; Meares-Irlen syndrome; dyslexia; coloured overlays; visual system; magnocellular system

Chapter.  10638 words. 

Subjects: Neuroscience

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