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Does Gender Influence Colour Choice in the Treatment of Visual Stress?

Conway, M. L., Evans, B. J. W., Evans, J. C. & Suttle, C. M. (2016). Does Gender Influence Colour Choice in the Treatment of Visual Stress?. PloS One, 11(9), article number e0163326. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0163326


Visual Stress (VS) is a condition in which words appear blurred, in motion, or otherwise distorted when reading. Some people diagnosed with VS find that viewing black text on white paper through coloured overlays or precision tinted lenses (PTLs) reduces symptoms attributed to VS. The aim of the present study is to determine whether the choice of colour of overlays or PTLs is influenced by a patient’s gender.

Records of all patients attending a VS assessment in two optometry practices between 2009 and 2014 were reviewed retrospectively. Patients who reported a significant and consistent reduction in symptoms with either overlay and or PTL were included in the analysis. Overlays and PTLs were categorized as stereotypical male, female or neutral colours based on gender preferences as described in the literature. Chi-square analysis was carried out to determine whether gender (across all ages or within age groups) was associated with overlay or PTL colour choice.

279 patients (133 males and 146 females, mean age 17 years) consistently showed a reduction in symptoms with an overlay and were included. Chi-square analysis revealed no significant association between the colour of overlay chosen and male or female gender (Chi-square 0.788, p = 0.674). 244 patients (120 males and 124 females, mean age 24.5 years) consistently showed a reduction in symptoms with PTLs and were included. Chi-square analysis revealed a significant association between stereotypical male/female/neutral colours of PTLs chosen and male/female gender (Chi-square 6.46, p = 0.040). More males preferred stereotypical male colour PTLs including blue and green while more females preferred stereotypical female colour PTLs including pink and purple.

For some VS patients, the choice of PTL colour is influenced not only by the alleviation of symptoms but also by other non-visual factors such as gender.

Publication Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine > RE Ophthalmology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Optometry & Visual Sciences
SWORD Depositor:
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