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BACKGROUND: Meares Irlen Syndrome (MIS), otherwise known as "visual stress", is one condition that can cause difficulties with reading. AIM: This study aimed to compare the effect of two coloured-filter systems on the symptoms of visual stress in children with reading delay. METHODS: The study design was a pre-test, post-test, randomized head-to-head comparison of two filter systems on the symptoms of visual stress in school children. A total of 68 UK mainstream schoolchildren with significant impairment in reading ability completed the study. RESULTS: The filter systems appeared to have a large effect on the reported symptoms between pre and post three-month time points (d = 2.5, r = 0.78). Both filter types appeared to have large effects (Harris d = 1.79, r = 0.69 and DRT d = 3.22, r = 0.85). Importantly, 35% of participants' reported that their symptoms had resolved completely; 72% of the 68 children appeared to gain improvements in three or more visual stress symptoms. CONCLUSION AND SIGNIFICANCE: The reduction in symptoms, which appeared to be brought about by the use of coloured filters, eased the visual discomfort experienced by these children when reading. This type of intervention therefore has the potential to facilitate occupational engagement.

Original publication




Journal article


Scand J Occup Ther

Publication Date





153 - 160


MISViS, Meares-Irlen Syndrome, colour, early literacy, intervention, occupational therapy, reading, Child, Color, Female, Humans, Male, Psychological Tests, Reading, Surveys and Questionnaires, Vision Disorders, Vision Tests, Visual Perception