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Irlen Syndrome: Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment

Irlen Syndrome: Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment

Sometimes, our ability to read texts looks like a challenging task- it acts as a barrier in the communication process and improves performance. If you are one of the individuals who deal with irritability, fatigue, eye strain or headache, you might have Irlen Syndrome.

Also referred to as Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome or Meares-Irlen Syndrome, Irlen Syndrome is a visual processing concern that can take place due to head injuries, genetics or Lyme disease (an inflammatory process). Since these patients are unable to process visual information properly, they often get exposed to focus issues, anxiety and migraines.

Individuals with Irlen Syndrome undergo a lot of pain while reading black texts on a white backdrop- they feel as if they are drowning in an ocean of disorganised words. Speaking of numbers, we have some clear statistics of Irlen Syndrome patients from reliable sources:

  • General population: 14%
  • People with dyslexia, learning or reading difficulties: 46%
  • Individuals who dealt with concussion or TBI: 35%
  • Autism spectrum: 33%
  • People with ADHD, concentration and attention problems: 33%

Now, it’s time for us to delve deeper and learn the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of Irlen Syndrome. Stay tuned to grab some valuable information right away.

What Are the Symptoms of Irlen Syndrome?

Symptoms of irlensyndrome

The symptoms of Irlen Syndrome can be both severe and mild. Let’s take a moment to check out the common symptoms at a quick glance:

  • Headaches
  • Eye strain
  • Poor performance in outdoor and sports activities
  • Fatigue
  • Inefficient or slow reading
  • Depth-perception issues
  • The environment and text look different
  • Poor reading comprehension
  • Light sensitivity
  • Concentration problems
  • Difficulty while reading music
  • Light sensitivity
  • Difficulty with maths

Apart from these common symptoms, Irlen Syndrome can be further classified into three more groups:

Writing Problems and Reading Distortions

  • Misreading words
  • Skipping lines and words
  • Slow reading
  • Fatigue
  • Poor concentration and comprehension
  • Miscopying
  • Reading problems in places where the amount of light is insufficient
  • Inconsistency spelling
  • Spacing size and unequal letter
  • Down/uphill writing
  • Words might appear blurry, unstable or moving

Depth Perception and Spatial Distortions

  • Clumsiness
  • Difficulty while judging distance
  • Problems while catching moving things like sports balls
  • Difficulty while driving at night

Physical Symptoms

  • Strain and fatigue
  • Tiredness, sleepiness and issues staying focused
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Anxiety, restlessness, dizziness, irritability or changes in mood
  • Watery eyes

The symptoms of dyslexia, ADHD and Irlen Syndrome are quite the same- even if all the health conditions are different from one another. While Irlen Syndrome is often considered an optical problem, it is not. Instead, it is a problem that is related to the brain’s ability to process visual information.

How to Diagnose Irlen Syndrome?


In order to diagnose Irlen Syndrome, one needs to undergo the process of the Irlen Syndrome test. Here, the experts use a reading strategy questionnaire to detect whether the person is suffering from Irlen Syndrome or not.

After the initial prescreening of the Irlen Syndrome test is done, the individuals at risk need to opt for a formal Irlen screening. A professional and certified Irlen screener takes care of this overall procedure. It is a comprehensive screening method that is capable of identifying the given condition. Apart from identification, this screening assesses the severity level, thus determining the best possible solutions to combat the issue.

How to Treat Irlen Syndrome?

Science of colour is what's required to deal with Irlen Syndrome. Each colour has different wavelengths. It means that light waves with different wavelengths are processed by an individual’s brain. In Irlen Syndrome treatment, colours of specific wavelengths that cause irritation to the brain are filtered out to correct the visual processing deficit.

The method that treats Irlen Syndrome is referred to as the Irlen method. Here, filters and coloured overlays are used to filter out the light wavelengths that distort the brain’s ability to respond to visual information.

Tinted Irlen lenses are a helpful tool that is used to minimise the effects of Irlen Syndrome. For instance, if a patient puts on these coloured overlays while reading, distortions and brightness can be eliminated. Not every Irlen Syndrome patient requires the same type of coloured overlays- it definitely varies from one person to another. A certified Irlen screener is the right person to have faith in- they will help you with the best Irlen colour lenses.



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