Coloured overlays and their effects on reading speed: a review

Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2002 Sep;22(5):448-54. doi: 10.1046/j.1475-1313.2002.00079.x.


Coloured overlays can reduce symptoms of visual stress and improve reading speed. These benefits are reliable and are not attributable simply to placebo effects. Five percent of children in mainstream education read at least 25% more quickly with an overlay, provided they have chosen the colour. The suboptimal design of children's text and the high level of classroom lighting may be partly responsible.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Asthenopia / prevention & control
  • Child
  • Color*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Placebo Effect
  • Reading*
  • Sensory Aids*