About Irlen Syndrome

Learning more about Irlen® Syndrome

Facts, symptoms and support

If you are interested in learning a few facts about Irlen® Syndrome, including some of the common symptoms, information can be found below. However, if you would like more in depth information, including articles relating to the science of Irlen and its links to autism and ADHD, click on the link below to access the International Irlen Website.  

On this website you can also change the background colour of your computer screen to see if it helps and also access an Irlen® Self Test that will enable you to consider whether an Irlen consultation would offer benefits. 

What is Irlen® Syndrome? 

Some facts ... 


Irlen Syndrome (also referred to at times as Meares-Irlen Syndrome, Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, and Visual Stress) is a perceptual processing disorder. It is not an optical problem. It is a problem with the brain’s ability to process visual information.


This problem tends to run in families and is not currently identified by other standardised educational or medical tests. Irlen Syndrome has a range of symptoms and can affect many different areas, including:

  • Academic and work performance
  • Behavior
  • Attention
  • Ability to sit still
  • Concentration

Irlen syndrome can present itself differently for each individual and is often a lifetime barrier to learning and performance. If you suffer from any of the following, Irlen Syndrome might be your problem:

  • Sensitivity to bright light
  • Print looks different
  • Poor depth perception
  • Environment looks different
  • Slow or inefficient reading
  • Poor comprehension
  • Eye strain
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty with math computation
  • Difficulty copying
  • Difficulty reading music
  • Poor sports performance
  • Low motivation

The Irlen Method is a non-invasive patented treatment that uses precision tinted Irlen spectral filters worn as glasses or contact lenses. These selectively reduce the input of specific wavelengths of light and allow the brain to process visual information correctly, without distortions and physical/behavioural symptoms



Symptoms of Irlen® Syndrome

Symptoms may include;



Light Sensitivity:

Bothered by glare, fluorescent lights, bright lights, sunlight and sometimes lights at night

Some individuals experience physical symptoms and feel tired, sleepy, dizzy, anxious, or irritable. Others experience headaches, mood changes, restlessness or have difficulty staying focused, especially with bright or fluorescent lights.

Reading Problems:

  • Poor comprehension
  • Misreads words
  • Problems tracking from line to line
  • Reads in dim light
  • Skips words or lines
  • Reads slowly or hesitantly
  • Needs to take frequent breaks
  • Loses place
  • Avoids reading
  • Discomfort:
  • Strain and fatigue
  • Tired or sleepy
  • Headaches or nausea
  • Fidgety or restless
  • Eyes that hurt or become watery

Attention and Concentration Problems:

  • Problems with concentration when reading and doing academic tasks. 
  • Strain and or fatigue when using a computer screen.

Writing Problems:

  • Trouble copying
  • Unequal spacing
  • Unable to keep writing on the line
  • Unequal letter size
  • Writing up or downhill
  • Inconsistent spelling

Other Characteristics:

  • Discomfort when reading black print on a white background
  • Difficulty reading music
  • Misaligned numbers in columns
  • Unable to concentrate for long periods
  • Lack of motivation
  • Grades do not reflect the amount of effort

Depth Perception:

  • Clumsiness
  • Narrow span of vision
  • Difficulty catching balls
  • Difficulty judging distances
  • Additional caution necessary while driving



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