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Title: Fluorescent lighting, bright-white paper, and levels of reading discomfort in Nursing-degree students: implications for education and healthcare settings
Contributor(s): Loew, Stephen  (author); Marsh, Nigel V  (author); Watson, Kenneth  (author); Jones, Graham L  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2016
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Abstract: The visual processing disorder Meares-Irlen Syndrome, or Visual Stress (VS), is believed to be a predisposition to visual cortex hyperexcitability (visual sensory-overload), and reportedly affects reading efficiency in circa 12% of the general population and a third of all individuals diagnosed with reading disorders. Symptoms include blurring, distortions/'movement' of text when reading, visual discomfort and attentive/cognitive fatigue, and are exacerbated by fluorescent lighting. Recent research has indicated that VS can also be present (and affect reading) in proficient readers. We therefore examined levels of reading discomfort in a cohort of Nursing Degree students (n = 31) when reading from standard 'ultra-white' paper, and from 'less-bright' (beige-coloured) paper, under typical classroom illumination-levels. Six primary symptoms of reading discomfort indicating the presence of visual stress were assessed while reading from each type of paper, utilizing a succinct concept-proven questionnaire designed to detect the presence of visual stress. The degree to which participants experienced any symptoms was indicated using a scale ranging from 0 = not at all, to 5 = highly noticeable (causes difficulty). Data concerning variations in the reported levels of symptoms and total visual discomfort scores between conditions ('ultra-white' paper; 'less-bright' paper) were analysed by means of Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Test. When reading from the less-bright paper, the group reported reduced discomfort regarding all six symptoms surveyed. These differences were statistically significant (p = 0.021 - p < 0.0005) with respect to five of the symptoms. Similarly, total visual discomfort scores between the conditions differed significantly (p < 0.0005). Our findings support previous studies indicating that VS-type symptoms of reading discomfort are not confined to populations with reading deficits and may also occur in capable readers. Moreover, adaptations to fluorescent lighting and/or visual media appear to alleviate such symptoms. These findings may well have vital implications for both education, and healthcare.
Publication Type: Conference Publication
Conference Details: CIPE 2016: VIII Congreso Internacional de Psicologia y Educacion [VIII International Congress of Psychology and Education], Alicante, Spain, 15th - 17th June, 2016
Source of Publication: Libro de Resumenes, p. 949-949
Publisher: Asociacion Cientifica de Psicologia y Educacion
Place of Publication: Madrid, Spain
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 170299 Cognitive Sciences not elsewhere classified
111099 Nursing not elsewhere classified
170112 Sensory Processes, Perception and Performance
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 520401 Cognition
420599 Nursing not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 920210 Nursing
920299 Health and Support Services not elsewhere classified
920409 Injury Control
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 200307 Nursing
200408 Injury prevention and control
HERDC Category Description: E3 Extract of Scholarly Conference Publication
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