My colleague, Morna MacDonald has commented here on a talk we heard from the optometrist, Dorothy Crystal.

I found these links which may be of interest:

Colored overlaysWilkins Intuitive Overlays – Cerium Overlays are colored sheets of robust transparent plastic which can be used for all reading tasks. The use of an overlay has been shown by Professor Arnold Wilkins at the Medical Research Council at Cambridge, UK, to enable an increase in reading fluency, efficiency and duration. The same research also demonstrated that the color selected will vary for each child.
In the past assessment for scotopic sensitivity was generally done by the Irlen Institute.  It was quite an expensive assessment and the overlays were also relatively expensive.  Now the Intuitive Overlays Test has enabled practitioners who have been trained by the Institute of Optometrists to carry out an assessment and prescribe an overlay for use when reading. 

EyeAre Weak Eye Muscles Holding Your Child Back at School?

There are all sorts of reasons for learning difficulties, but for some children – perhaps as many as 400,000 in the UK – the problem lies with the way their eyes work. If the muscles around the eyes are weak, the eyes won’t work as a co-ordinated pair. This makes it difficult to focus clearly on something as small as the printed words on a page. Now a new campaign has been launched to alert parents and teachers to the fact that sight problems can be an issue for children with dyslexia and other learning difficulties. The good news is treatment from an orthoptist, an eye specialist who deals with focusing problems, could improve their vision dramatically. .


If a child’s reading can be improved by such reductions in visual stress then the problem was not entirely one of dysleixa. However, it is helpful to eliminate visual problems as the root cause of literacy difficulties. If we suggest an eye check we must remember to advise parents to inform the optometrist of any reading difficulties so that s/he can dig a bit deeper.

Needless to say. hearing checks are equally vital in establishing why a child is struggling unexpectedly.