- Visual Symptoms     - Physical Symptoms     - How the Symptoms affect an Individual     - Symptoms while Reading and Writing

Visual Symptoms of Visual Stress:

Visual Stress typically causes the following distortions of print, although not all of the following will necessarily be experienced by one person:

  • Movement of print (words appearing to “jump” or move on the page)
  • Whole lines of text may appear to move.
  • Blurring of print
  • Letters seeming to change size
  • Doubling of letters
  • Letters fading
  • Patterns appearing
  • Illusions of colour blobs moving across the page distracting the reader or obscuring the words.
  • Swirling effects appear in the text.
  • White "rivers" may seem to run down the page where the white background, as opposed to the black text, has become the dominant image perceived.

Examples of Visual Symptoms:


The doubling effect:

White rivers appearing in the text:

Blurring of print:

 Illusions of colour blobs:

   A ripple effect appearing:

Whole lines of text appearing to move:



Physical Symptoms of Visual Stress:

  • Frequent headaches and migraines associated with reading or computer work
  • Eye strain
  • Tiredness working with text, which stops very shortly after reading or computer work stops
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Eye discomfort/pain

How the symptoms of Visual Stress can effect an individual:

  • Experience difficulty looking at a computer screen
  • Be unusually sensitive to bright lights, especially fluorescent lighting.
  • Have difficulty judging heights or distances, which sometimes causes problems with stairs and/or escalators.
  • Find driving at night particularly stressful, sometimes experiencing a fragmentation of reflected light.
  • Develop headaches and migraines when reading.

While reading and writing sufferers may:

  • Fatigue quickly when working with text
  • Skip words or lines when reading
  • Seem to experience increased difficulty after an initial period of about 10 minutes
  • Keep moving their head or body position, or moving closer to or further away from the page
  • Read slowly and haltingly
  • Have difficulty comprehending information
  • Track with their finger
  • Yawn while reading
  • Frequently rub their eyes.