The International Institute of Colorimetry, is committed to raising awareness in schools, relevant professions and the community at large, of the need for early diagnosis of the problem of Visual Stress.
The International Institute of Colorimetry (IIoC), is a not for profit organization inaugurated in 2009 specifically to raise awareness of the problems caused by Visual Stress in reading difficulties. This occurred as a result of requests from hundreds of teachers and vision specialists from around the UK, many of whom attended the first International Science Conference at the Royal Society when academic speakers from around the world gathered to present information related to photosensitive issues and associated neurological disorders that can also be helped by the provision of precision colour.
The IIoC, in conjunction with the Institute of Optometry in London, organize regular training courses for teachers, vision specialists and interested others. The most recent, at Aston University, was attended by more than one hundred delegates. Speakers including Professor Arnold Wilkins, the renowned lead researcher in the area of Visual Stress and head of the Visual Perceptual Unit at the University of Essex and Professor Bruce Evans, Director of research at the Institute of Optometry, were joined by speakers from Aston and Anglia Ruskin Universities and by experts in special educational needs. They delivered a programme packed with science and educational information all related to helping children who struggle to read, including the profoundly deaf.
The use of coloured overlays in the classroom has grown rapidly over the past few years and many teachers will already be aware of the positive improvements in many children when prescribed the optimum coloured overlay.
Whilst the application of overlays remains the obvious cheapest effective method of dealing with Visual Stress in the classroom, others may benefit from wearing precision tinted lenses. These are usually prescribed by qualified optometrists trained to use the Intuitive Colorimeter, the instrument designed by Professor Arnold Wilkins and distributed by Cerium Visual Technologies under license to the British Medical Research Council. Lenses are only prescribed where appropriate but are more useful when copying from the board or from another book or for those who may develop headaches or eyestrain when reading. There are 500 Colorimeters in community practice around the UK
The IIoC endeavours at all times, to ensure that its information on Visual Stress in relation to reading problems is clear. Not all poor readers can benefit from colour as their problems may emanate from more complex issues. The symptoms of Visual Stress can be confused with those caused by refractive errors and other vision anomalies. This highlights the need for prior NHS vision tests available free of charge under NHS provision for school-aged children.
The symptoms of Visual Stress can also be confused with some symptoms displayed by those who suffer from dyslexia, such as slow and hesitant reading, poor comprehension and tiring easily whilst reading. The IIoC has worked hard over the years to ensure it is understood that precision coloured lenses are not a cure for dyslexia. A substantial number of dyslexics however also suffer from Visual Stress and the condition can run concurrently. Visual Stress, however, affects many others who struggle to read who are not dyslexic. Overlays and/or lenses help to remedy the photosensitive condition of Visual Stress which can also cause headaches and eye strain.
Unfortunately some leading education academics and relevant government ministers and politicians remain inadequately aware of vision problems (including Visual Stress) and how they can affect reading. Meanwhile it is an acknowledged fact by others in education and vision care that thousands of children remain in classrooms around the UK with unidentified and untreated vision deficits.
The main aim of the IIoC is to educate the educators to recognize how vision deficits can impinge on children’s learning and to raise awareness of Visual Stress, both in education and the vision profession. The IIoC urges early recognition, diagnosis and treatment of these problems in order to avoid the downward spiral of confidence that often occurs when children are left, needlessly to struggle to learn.
Please go to: www.colorimetryinstitute.org where you will find more information about membership of the IIoC and more information about overlays and lenses.