Overlays are an inexpensive way of trying colour. If the overlay helps, then you would probably experience more benefit from tinted lenses.
It is not essential to buy tinted lenses, it boils down to convenience. Children can use coloured paper to write on, and photocopy worksheets, homework and music scores onto coloured paper of their choosing.
Tinted glasses are designed to reduce glare from white surfaces and white light so there is no need to have coloured paper when using coloured glasses. The colour is tailor made to reduce distortions and movement of text, they are also excellent for reducing glare from lighting, computer screens and white boards.
Tinted lenses may help to reduce headaches, migraine and also travel sickness.
Adults and children benefiting from the use of prescribed coloured overlays may wish to use glasses with tinted lenses instead. Glasses can be used while writing, copying from white-boards, computer work, watching TV etc. They provide excellent eye comfort therefore extending reading time by reducing eye soreness and fatigue caused by Visual Stress.
The colour of lenses will not be the same as the overlay therefore it is important to have a professional assessment. The colour of the lenses is made easier to judge by using an Intuitive Colorimeter machine usually operated by a qualified Optometrist or Orthoptist.
For example, when Sam looks at a blue overlay in normal white light, it looks like a good solid dark colour, but when she looks through the same blue colour in a lens, it feels very different and does not share the same qualities. So her blue overlay stops the words shifting and vibrating but the blue lens doesnít. Sam will need to find another colour to stop the distortions.
Tom had a lime green overlay and his glasses turned out to be turquoise.
Arthur had an aqua overlay but his glasses are yellow and grey.
We do not get to choose the colours that work, we just need the opportunity to see text through as many colours as possible to experience which one will provide the most comfort and stability while reading.
The Dyslexia and Coloured Filter Service offer Colorimeter tests in Darlington, Boroughbridge and Selby. For other areas in the UK contact your local Optometrists in yellow Pages or use the Cerium Visual Technologies listings on the web site link in www.essex.ac/psychology/overlays
Before ordering your glasses, tell the optometrist that you intend to have cerium tinted lenses. It is recommended that you purchase glasses after you have been using a prescribed colour overlay. A time period of six weeks of continuous use is a good indication that the colour overlay is of benefit (Arnold Wilkins), and therefore coloured glasses may be of benefit. This is particularly important for children, but not so much for adults or severe cases where it is obvious that colour gives great benefit.
Tips for anyone who wishes to get coloured lenses:
use your overlay as much as possible before the Colorimeter test to familiarise yourself with your symptoms - the colorimeter test is subjective - if you know your symptoms well, you will find it easier to pin point the most effective colour for your lenses.
You should be allowed to take your time during the test so that you can be sure you are confident and happy with your final colour choice - you are the one who's going to be wearing the glasses!
Always have an up to date eye test before your Colorimeter test, if your lenses require a prescription you may be eligible for an NHS voucher towards the cost of your glasses, but not the colour unfortunately.
Try to avoid scheduling a regular eye test and a Colorimeter test back to back, give your eyes a break, Colorimetery requires a lot of concentration.
Shop around and compare prices, some places charge more than others for the colour dipping process but Cerium, the company who does the actual dipping does not.
Tinted glasses are wonderful and so convenient to use but not usually available on the NHS, so the costs involved may seem prohibitive.
Overlays are more affordable and can help in many situations where glare needs to be reduced. In addition to overlays there are also other strategies that you could employ. For example, we suggest you also use coloured paper for writing and give your eyes a break as much as possible - avoid fluorescent lighting. You could wear a cap while shopping (shop lighting is horrible, especially in shopping centres), wear ordinary UV protection sun glasses in the car in daylight, although passengers can wear them at night, to avoid headlight glare; change the background colour of your PC to something more soothing than bright white. When ordering coloured glasses, pay attention to the restrictions of use given to you at the time.
Understandably, some teenagers do not want to be different or stand out at school by wearing tinted lenses, if so, they can wear them at home for course work or use overlays instead. Many children and adults need time to adjust to the idea that they have a perception disorder, so we never insist on appointments for tinted lenses, itís a personal choice.
Where to get tinted lenses in the North East:
The Dyslexia and Coloured Filter Service work in Boroughbridge, Selby and Darlington offering coloured Overlay assessments (£30 + £3.50 per A5 overlay) and Colorimeter Tests for Colour Tinted Glasses (£50).
Prices vary throughout the country, please ring round to find out:
How much is the Colorimeter test?
How much is the Cerium precision tint?
Are the lenses included or extra?
Is there an extra charge for a UV or is it included in the price?
Towns in alphabetical order:
Cerium Technology have a list of opticians, optometrists and orthoptists who use Colorimeter machines, to find someone in your area please contact www.ceriumvistech.co.uk or telephone them on 01580 765 211.