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COLOURED OVERLAYS IMPROVE READING PERFORMANCE IN PEOPLE SUFFERING FROM VISUAL STRESS
Abstract and Figures
The ability to read fast and effortless, with good comprehension, is nowadays essential for an independent and successful academic, professional and social life. However, many people feel discomfort and see distortions when reading. This condition, called visual stress, is possibly a consequence of a visual cortex hyperexcitability due to the occurrence of stripped pattern on texts. Several studies have shown that the use over texts of transparent colored plastic sheets, known as overlays, significantly improve some reading-related parameters, and so, enhance reading fluency on an adult population. These overlays work through the absorption of part of the visible spectrum, less exposing and less stimulating the eye receptors sensitive to this specific region. The use of a customized overlays decreases visual stress and increases visual comfort, extending periods of reading and enabling decoding techniques and other reading strategies to be applied. The investigation of oculomotor and other reading related parameters can help in the analysis of the visual process during reading. This study aimed to analyze the number of fixations, the number of regressions, the span of recognition, the average duration of fixation, the number of words read per minute, the cross correlation and the comprehension rate of 62 adults suffering visual stress and with indication for coloured overlay intervention. All participants had normal uncorrected or corrected visual acuity and were free of eye or neurological diseases, other than the visual stress related. Participant's reading performances were measured by Visagraph System when reading within and without a personalized spectral overlay. Statistical analysis showed significant (p<.05) improvement between five of the seven analyzed reading parameters within overlay use in people suffering from visual stress, suggesting the effectiveness of spectral intervention in the improvement of reading performance in this population.
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