Opening Times:

Monday to Friday

9.00am to 5.00pm


9.00am to 1.00pm

Early and late appointments available on request.

15 William Street, West End, Edinburgh EH3 7NG

T: 0131 226 7833

E: info@birrellrainford.co.uk

Specialist Services in Visual Stress and Reading Difficulties

What can Birrell & Rainford Opticians do to help?

Reading and writing for some people is made more difficult by conditions such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia, autism and Asperger’s Syndrome. In fact one in ten of us are thought to be dyslexic in some way which equates to over half a million people in Scotland. However, early recognition, visual correction, appropriate teaching and support at school can mean people with dyslexia don’t have to lose out; Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Richard Branson, Walt Disney, Winston Churchill, Jamie Oliver and Johnny Depp are a few among many famous dyslexics.

Visual Stress

Visual stress describes the discomfort some people feel when viewing text for long periods of time. Research has shown that around 20% of the population experience varying degrees of visual stress. Symptoms of visual stress vary but can include: headaches, migraines, eyestrain and words or letters appearing to ‘jump’ or move on the page. Visual Stress is NOT the same as dyslexia but is more common to those who are dyslexic.  For more information,click here.

Binocular Instability

One of the main difficulties faced by those with dyslexia is a reduced ability to focus close up and poor or unstable co-ordination of the two eyes, known as binocular instability. Binocular instability can usually only be detected by a specially trained optician, such as Brenda Rainford who has been a specialist in this field for 20 years. A child with dyslexia, dyspraxia, dyscalculia or Asperger’s Syndrome or even other mild specific learning difficulties may benefit from assessment for binocular instability as restoration of binocularity (co-ordination of both eyes) through prescription spectacles or exercises can help reading.

Coloured Overlays & Colourimetry

Coloured overlays and lenses have been found to make a remarkable improvement in reading work for some children and adults, increasing reading fluency in about 20% of children with reading difficulties as they have the effect of stabilizing the text for those who find that the text does not stay still or the text seems to dance about.

Different coloured overlays can help the words and spaces between the words to become clearer and so text is easier to read. Some people find white paper dazzling and coloured overlays or lenses lessen this effect so there is less visual stress.

With less visual stress people are able to read more fluently, with less effort, more speed and greater attention span for longer periods of time. The colour tint of overlay or lens varies from individual to individual and over time colour preferences can change so it is important to have proper assessments with a qualified optometrist.

Birrell & Rainford Opticians are able to diagnose and prescribe appropriate visual aids through use of their Coloured Overlays and Intuitive Colorimeter® and are one of the few opticians in Edinburgh to offer this service. For more information, click here.

15 William Street, West End, Edinburgh EH3 7NG.

Registered Company No: SC383043 VAT No: 106 268 429