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Coloured overlays and precision-tinted lenses: poor repeatability in a sample of adults diagnosed with visual stress

Suttle, C. M., Barbur, J. L. and Conway, M. L. (2017). Coloured overlays and precision-tinted lenses: poor repeatability in a sample of adults diagnosed with visual stress. Ophthalmic And Physiological Optics, 37(4), pp. 542-548. doi: 10.1111/opo.12389

Abstract

Purpose
Visual stress consists of perceived distortions or discomfort while reading. It is claimed that these symptoms are alleviated by viewing through coloured lenses or overlays, with a specific colour required for each individual. This has been explained on the basis of altered visual cortex excitation as affected by the spectral content of the viewing light. If symptoms are indeed alleviated by a particular colour that has an impact on the individual's visual system, we would expect that selection of the most beneficial colour would be repeatable. The aim of this study was to determine whether this is the case.

Methods
Twenty-one participants (mean age 26 years (range 8–55 years); 12 female, nine male) with visual stress and no other uncorrected ocular or visual anomaly were recruited. Each participant selected the colour most beneficial in alleviating their symptoms from a standard set of 10 coloured overlays, and underwent intuitive colorimetry in which the most beneficial of a wide range of chromatic illuminance settings was selected. Without prescribing an overlay at the first appointment, this process was repeated on a second occasion at a mean of 25 days later.

Results
About half of the participants (n = 10) chose the same (n = 7) or similar (with one common colour in both choices; n = 3) coloured overlay on the two occasions, while 11 participants chose a completely different overlay colour. Across all participants, the colorimetry setting shifted by, on average, 9.6 just noticeable differences, indicating that the colours were perceptually very different.

Conclusion
These findings suggest that people with visual stress are unlikely to find exactly the same colour to be optimal on different occasions, and raise questions about the need for precise colour specification in tinted lenses for visual stress.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Suttle CM, Barbur J & Conway ML. Coloured overlays and precision-tinted lenses: poor repeatability in a sample of adults diagnosed with visual stress Ophthalmic Physiol Opt 2017; 37: 542–548., which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/opo.12389. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Subjects: R Medicine > RE Ophthalmology
Departments: School of Health Sciences > Optometry & Visual Science
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/17913
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