Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer
Search the University of Manchester siteSearch Menu StaffNet

Do you experience visual stress/scotopic sensitivity/Irlen’s syndrome? Do you use coloured lenses or overlays?


Ethics Ref: 2023-16108-29622

Volunteers needed for a study investigating brain activity and visual stress

Researchers at The University of Manchester are conducting a pilot study on brain activity and visual stress. To be eligible you need to:

  • Be aged 18 – 40 years
  • Have had an eye examination in the last two years AND have a pair of up-to-date spectacles
  • Not require spectacles specifically for reading
  • Be known to experience visual stress (also termed pattern glare, scotopic sensitivity or Irlen’s syndrome) and possibly use coloured lenses/overlays

Visual stress is a perceptual disorder which results in an individual experiencing visual distortions when viewing high contrast, repetitive patterns such as rows of text, escalators or vertical columns on a fence. A possible theory for this is ‘cortical hyperexcitability’. To investigate this theory, this pilot study will be exploring the use of MRI scans. Participants will attend two visits:

  • Visit 1 will take place at the Carys Bannister building at The University of Manchester and involve screening eye tests, lasting approximately 1 hour.
  • Visit 2 will require approximately 1.5 hours, and take place at the Clinical Research Facility (Grafton Street, Manchester). You will undergo an MRI scan.

You will receive reimbursement for your participation in this study.

Contact details

This study is being conducted by Dr Ketan Parmar, Prof Christine Dickinson, Dr Laura Parkes, Dr Emma Gowen and Dr Catherine Porter. For more information or if you would like to take part, please contact: .