Don’t Call Me Stupid: Kara Tointon’s Studious New Look

To succeed as an actor you need to be able to slip in and out of character with chameleon-like ease; and, as Madonna has proved in spades, it also helps win column inches in the Press if you can reinvent your image from time to time.

Kara Tointon's new look

Only a few months ago, soap actress Kara Tointon, dazzled us all with her graceful moves, fake tan and revealing outfits when she won Strictly Come Dancing. A few weeks later it was the sympathy of viewers that she won while presenting a heartfelt documentary charting her personal battles with dyslexia – “Don’t call me Stupid”- and now she has released a series of stunning photos wearing glasses to launch the search for Spectacle Wearer of the Year.

There is no doubt that Kara is a beautiful and exceedingly photogenic young woman who would look good in the proverbial garbage sack tied in the middle with a bit of string. Most men looking at her latest photo shoot would probably be paying more attention to her legs than the frames of her specs and although one might smile at the clichéd bookish image achieved by simply slipping on some tortoiseshells there is also a serious message here.

Kara, like an estimated 4% of the population, suffers from severe dyslexia – making reading an unpleasant, tiring chore; and even learning her lines (she is currently appearing in Pygmalian at London’s Garrick Theatre) a lengthy and laborious task.

During Kara’s documentary it emerged that the visual disturbance she experiences when looking at the printed word could be helped by changing the colour of the background white page. This can either be achieved by overlays of shaded film or by using glasses with special tinted lenses.

Research in the UK and Australia shows that this “visual stress” can only be helped by finding the exact correct colour which is determined by a special instrument called an Intuitive Colorimeter. The word “Intuitive” would seem to indicate that this is not an exact science and unfortunately, it will be many years – if ever – that the problems of dyslexia could be cured by a laser.

“In Laser Eye Surgery we are correcting the surface of the eye; whereas problems of dyslexia originate in the brain and optic nerve”, explained London Vision Clinic optometrist, Vimal Piparia.