top of page

Visual Stress

Visual Stress is a neurological condition. It is a problem with the brain's ability to process visual information such as patterns, light and movement. They cause the brain to become overexcited and not function properly, leading to physical discomfort and perceptual processing difficulties. It can interfere with reading, attention, coordination, general health and behaviour.


Commonly reported symptoms of Visual Stress include headaches, light sensitivity, fatigue, reading and attention difficulties, dizziness and nausea. Visual Stress is not a problem of the eyes and is not identified in standard optometric testing.

Symptoms are often alleviated with individually selected precision tinted filters. Without the appropriate filters, people can often experience pain, distractions, exhaustion and frustration.

hyperactivated eye optic nerve and visual cortex

Learn how to reduce your Visual Stress and its causes

See an Optometrist

​It is essential to see an optometrist for a full assessment and to have any anomalies treated conventionally before considering treatment with coloured filters.  

Opticalm requires all clients who come in for a Visual Stress assessment to have undergone a detailed optometric evaluation within the past year and to be wearing comfortably their new vision prescription.

If you are not wearing the correct prescription in your glasses (uncorrected refractive error), you might experience symptoms similar to Visual Stress. If your eyes have problems aligning visual images (binocular instability), you may also experience Visual Stress-like symptoms. The perceptual illusions caused by Visual Stress may increase difficulties with accommodation and vergence. These difficulties can sometimes be reduced when coloured filters are used.


The need to provide a low plus (hyperopic) prescription to relax the eyes may not be necessary when the visual system is calmed with precision coloured filters. 

Investigating for Visual Stress is not part of a routine optometric examination. Therefore, if symptoms persist after conventional vision care, it is advised to get a Visual Stress assessment.

Contact us for more information.

Visual Stress process

For Visual Stress to occur, the visual system goes through several steps. Learn what happens to your eyes and brain when you have Visual Stress.

A group of friends at a coffee shop one has tinted lenses

Causes and triggers

Visual Stress occurs when the visual environment is overwhelmed, causing the brain to react. This can lead to physical pain and visual difficulties.

Stressed woman biting pencil while in front of computer during daytime

Signs and symptoms

Recognize the signs, address and manage the symptoms.

Tracking text with finger when doing homework


Individuals may not be aware that they are experiencing visual distortions. They may lead to loss of clarity and general visual irritation.
WARNING: The following images can cause discomfort and trigger reactions in some individuals.

Man with headache in bright room with electronics

Related conditions

​Learn about the other neurological conditions that share symptoms with Visual Stress and how precision tints might help.

woman using tablet

​See an optometrist

It is essential to see an optometrist for a full vision assessment and to have any anomalies treated conventionally before considering treatment with coloured filters.

Learn more
Vision exam


​Research began with the investigation into pattern sensitivity and the resulting symptoms of seizures, headaches and perceptual distortions. A large volume of research provides evidence that colour filters reduce these symptoms.

Optical research with brain scan
bottom of page