A bit of colour has given a huge boost to the reading skills of a nine-year-old from Tynemouth.
Daniel Doherty, who suffers from a condition called visual stress that makes it difficult to see clearly, was finding smaller letters all a bit blurred until he received help from North East optometrist Andrew Keyes.
Coloured filters, in the form of coloured overlays or tinted spectacle lenses, can significantly reduce the blurred vision that visual stress causes, stopping words moving on the page and in turn improving reading and concentration.
Mr Keyes, who has a practice (Keyes Eyecare) in Gosforth, explained that visual stress is often confused with dyslexia because of the difficulties that it causes with reading, but they are two different conditions – although about half of those suffering with dyslexia also have visual stress.
Daniel’s mum Kerri said: “It breaks your heart when your son comes home and says he is not very smart and you know this is not the case. He is very creative, massively observant and has lots of skills.
“However, he was finding it hard to read little black letters on a white background as they were sometimes a little wiggly.
“We have tried various options to help and worked closely with schools, but deep down we knew if we could find the right tools then everything could be great.
“I heard about Andrew from other parents and he spent a lot of time going through a broad spectrum of colours.
“We were very excited when Daniel said blue was the right one for him.
“Using blue overlays when reading has improved his reading by at least 50 per cent.
“I broke down in tears when it all came together.
“Daniel is a much more confident boy now.
“We are hugely grateful to Andrew and his outstanding work and would recommend others in a similar position to get in touch.”
The other effects of visual stress, also known as Meares-Irlen syndrome, include losing your place or skipping words or lines, poor concentration and tiredness when reading.