What is Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome?

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  • Written By: Jacob Queen
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 17 October 2019
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Scotopic sensitivity syndrome is a disorder leading to a variety of symptoms related to vision. The most well-known symptom is a problem in the way text is perceived, especially when the text color and background color are highly contrasting. For example, when someone has scotopic sensitivity syndrome, black text on a white page may seem to move around, reverse, or shrink. Many experts have believed this disorder is associated with dyslexia, but others think the two problems are generally unrelated.

There are also other symptoms associated with scotopic sensitivity syndrome, including night blindness and a sensitivity to light. Many people might also have a narrower field of view and difficulty focusing and they may get headaches while trying to read. All these symptoms combined can make the individual have difficulty paying attention, which can make any and all learning activities difficult.

Many people with scotopic sensitivity syndrome have a great deal of trouble learning how to read. There is a lot of variation in terms of the severity of different cases, but for some students, it can be almost impossible to see most text. When people are very young, it can be hard for teachers and others to realize what is causing their reading problems. Teachers may simply believe that students aren’t trying hard enough or that they suffer from some other disorder.


One of the most common treatment approaches for scotopic sensitivity syndrome involves the use of colored eyeglass lenses. With different sufferers, the appropriate color for these lenses varies, and it can be difficult to find the perfect choice. Some people also benefit from putting text on a computer screen and adjusting the differences between background and foreground colors. As a general rule, different cases respond better to treatment than others.

Finding an appropriate treatment can have a massive effect on the lives of scotopic sensitivity syndrome sufferers. Some are able to fully reverse the symptoms, and they may be shocked because they never realized how bad they were seeing things. After treatment, many sufferers may have drastically better performance at school or on the job.

There is a bit of controversy about the possible connection between this syndrome and dyslexia. Some consider it a type of dyslexia, while others say it is more of a pure vision problem that has no relation to the other condition. This definition is still evolving, and more scientific research will probably be needed to produce a definitive answer.


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