AccessAbility Centre

Vision and visual difficulties or disturbance

At university it is usual for students to spend more time than perhaps they previously have reading and working at a computer or other screen. Near work activities can cause visual discomfort or visual disturbance and means studying takes longer and is less effective.  

If an individual experiences any of the symptoms listed below they are advised to inform their optometrist or to consult with a registered optometrist. This is because it is important to check that there is no underlying health-related condition that affects the eyes and vision, that a person is not short or longsighted or needs a new prescription for their glasses, or has an eye condition that might affect them when reading or undertaking other study tasks.

Visual sensory anomaly or oculomotor dysfunction can also cause some of the experiences listed below but these conditions are not generally checked as part of the normal eye test we have to test eyesight. For different reasons these conditions can cause, for example, text to be uncomfortable to look at or to appear to move or double vision. They may also cause difficulty keeping your place when reading or moving the eyes between documents.

If you experience any of the following symptoms we do strongly advise you to discuss this with a registered optometrist so that any barriers to your efficiency when studying can be understood and addressed or managed.

  • blurred vision
  • headache
  • eyestrain
  • fatigue when reading
  • need for frequent breaks when reading
  • reading too close, or too far away from the page or screen
  • blinking frequently or squinting
  • finding the page too bright to look at
  • experiencing glare when looking at a page
  • being sensitive to the contrast of text on the page
  • seeing words as though they are fading/darkening
  • seeing patterns in text
  • text appearing as three dimensional
  • text appearing to shimmer or flicker
  • text blurring
  • experiencing unstable focus
  • needing to reread text or skipping lines of text
  • lose place
  • experience letters moving
  • double vision
  • difficulty tracking – reading along the line


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