Science, Visual

Coloured Lenses

The use of coloured overlays or tinted lens has always been one of the more controversial dyslexia coping methods. First promoted by the Irlen Institute in the early 1980’s it was treated with some skepticism, partly because the idea that colour may help reading was radical but also because the Irlen Institute was a very commercial organisation. In dyslexia education, being highly commercial can attract a lot of negativity from teachers and academics. However over the years the use of colour (or color for our US readers) has become more creditable. Most research has shown that personally selected colour filters are most effective and the use of filters of any colour can help though some studies have shown no improvement. A summary of recent research can be found here.
My reading has been quite good from the age of ten but I was finding that working with computers all day was giving me serious eye strain and headaches. When I found out about how research confirmed that coloured lens helps reduce the strain on the eye I booked an appointment with a local optician who has an Intutative Colorimeter. This device allows the user to identify which colour, if any, suits them. I was surprised how much a difference a rose coloured tint helped my reading speed and I immediately order some glasses with the same tint. The glasses made an immediate impact and vastly reduced the eye strain I suffered. Now I only use my rose tinted glasses when working on computers and often when reading books.
As an alternatives to tinted glasses you may wish to try simple coloured folders brought at Office World or other stationery stores. Many people have reported improvements by trying several different colours and picking the one that ‘feels right’. For a more scientific and expensive approach, TintaVision have centres around the UK and can produce highly personalised coloured overlays.
Related advice from the British Dyslexia Association.

One Comment

  1. Anna

    I would also suggest coloured cellophane for an ‘easy to access’ product. I came across a freind in a store who was looking for Moulding clay to shape letters, and when I asked some questions, she explained that as an adult she has just begun to have help with Dyslexia. I took her around to the stand of Cellophanes and opened up the red one. Before using it I asked her to show me the words she could read, She was able to see the first word “drawing” and then struggled to figure which was the next word. I then placed the red cellophane over the words and she nearly wept . She said,”Oh my god, I can see all of the words” and she read them slowly to me. Then I opened the green cellophane and did the same and she was able to see them even more clearly. So she took the green cellophane and was off to see her tutor today, to show her how much better it was for her. She is 55yrs of age and has stuggled all of her life, and is now grinning like one thing.

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