Beneficial reports of the use of colour for reading difficulties came to the attention of Professor Arnold Wilkins (Head of Visual Perception Unit - University of Essex) in the early 90’s. Prof. Wilkins had previously researched Epilepsy and noted that some of the symptoms described by children with specific reading difficulties were similar to some of those of Photosensitive Epilepsy (provoked by a visual trigger).

Concerned that the benefit was placebo effect he recognised that if colour potentially gave benefit some evidence based research was needed to validate the claim. He wanted to show that the optimal colour needed to be selected with precision and to allow for this selection he invented the Intuitive Colorimeter and used the instrument to carry out scientific research. The research had full support from the Medical Research Council in the UK.

Following a double masked placebo controlled trial; published in 1994 Professor Wilkins showed that the beneficial effect of colour on visual distortion was not entirely attributable to placebo effect.

Since this research many peer reviewed papers have been published by many leading professionals in the Psychology, Optometry and Education fields to further support this hypothesis.

A rigid clinical procedure within Optometry was developed which is outlined by The College of Optometrists.

Cerium Visual Technologies was granted full licence to manufacture and market the Intuitive Colorimeter by The Medical Research Council. CVT continues to support further research into colour and its benefits and work closely worldwide with professionals and academic bodies to ensure that all who benefit from colour do so through scientifically based solutions. The MRC was granted a worldwide patent.

Why colour works

Pages of print can resemble a visually stressful pattern. Print can be very “stripy” and for a lot of people can be uncomfortable to look at. This can be similar to looking at a very stripy shirt for a prolonged time.

It is thought that this discomfort when looking at the print and hence the symptoms of Visual Stress in reading difficulties are also due to a hyperexcitability of neurones in the Visual Cortex. This means that some of the cells in the part of the brain which deals with processing of visual information work too fast and do not respond in the way they should.

We know that certain cells in the Visual Cortex are colour sensitive and therefore by placing a colour in front of the eye; the pattern of excitation can be changed. In other words the colour will help to slow and calm these cells therefore quietening the pattern and reducing the Visual Stress.

The colour needed to reduce the hyperexcitability is very precise and individual to each person.