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Beyond Visual Perceptions

Contrary to popular belief, dyslexia is not a visual problem but rather a challenge in how the brain interprets letters, words, and sentences. This article aims to shed light on the unique characteristics of dyslexic reading experiences, moving beyond the visual aspects often misconstrued by neurotypical individuals.


Research using EyeTracking technology has provided valuable insights into how dyslexic individuals process text. Unlike neurotypicals, dyslexics may process fewer letters per gaze/focus point, slowing down the reading pace and requiring more cognitive effort.

While a neurotypical might effortlessly absorb 4-6 letters per gaze point, a dyslexic may only process 2-4 letters per gaze point, resembling a complex puzzle with smaller pieces and harder to get the overall meaning of the text.


Dyslexic reading is characterized by the tendency to go back and forth multiple times while reading. This is due to a lack of understanding of a word that has been read, hence the need to reread and correct the information to comprehend it. Just misreading one word can lead to misunderstanding or inconsistency with the rest of the text.

The cognitive load on dyslexic individuals can be up to five times greater than that of neurotypicals, making reading a more energy-intensive task.


To better grasp the dyslexic reading experience, imagine viewing text through a small hole in a paper. This limited field of vision removes the overall context, making it challenging to comprehend the entire passage and easier to lose one's place in the text.


Contrary to the assumption that black letters on a white background offer optimal contrast, many dyslexics find this combination challenging. The high contrast can lead to visual discomfort, causing letters to appear as if they are dancing or moving. Some dyslexics may even experience a green and red edge with a small shadow when overcompensating to focus. To illustrate, think of staring at a black dot on a white paper for a minute and then experiencing a ghostly image on a white wall.


To mitigate visual discomfort, many dyslexics opt for alternatives like dark blue text on an off-white background. This combination maintains sufficient contrast while being gentler on the eyes during prolonged reading. Additionally, using red or green letters can provide a more comfortable reading experience for some individuals.


For those struggling with standard print, transparent overlays in blue, red, or green can be purchased at hobby shops. Placing these overlays on printed material can reduce contrast, easing the reading process and minimizing visual distractions.


Understanding dyslexia goes beyond the visual aspects often associated with the condition. By recognizing the challenges in information processing and adopting practical solutions, we can create a more inclusive environment that supports dyslexic individuals in their reading journeys.