Irlen Syndrome

Understanding Irlen Syndrome and the Irlen Method

Bulletproof Executive Podcast Interviews Helen Irlen



What is Irlen Syndrome?

  • Visual-perceptual disorder: neurologically based, visual cortex, transient, or magnocellular deficit
  • Genetic predisposition: affecting males and females equally
  • Symptoms varied and environmentally induced
  • Severity is on a continuum from slight to severe
  • Environmental stressors: lighting; contrast, colors, patterns; amount of print on page; demands for continuous performance; demands for comprehension; print size, style, and format
  • Not identified by standardized tests
  • Not a method of instruction
efficient brain small boy with irlen glasses (2)

Who has Irlen Syndrome?

  • 46% of those with specific learning disabilities and reading problems
  • 33% of individuals misdiagnosed with AD/HD, Dyslexia, and/or behavior problems
  • 12-14% of general population, gifted, and good readers
  • 70% of individuals with head injury, concussion, or whip lash
  • 80% Individuals with autism
  • Certain medical/visual conditions
efficient brain girl with irlen glasses (1)

Symptoms of Irlen Syndrome

LIGHT SENSITIVITY - Discomfort or difficulty concentrating or working under bright lights or fluorescent lights. Also bothered by glare, sunlight, or driving at night.
INEFFICIENT READING - Skipping words or lines, loses place, misreading words, reading lines from above or below, repeating lines, weak comprehension, or rereading for comprehension.
SLOW READING RATE - Inability to read letters, numbers, musical notes, or words in groups. Problems tracking, correctly identifying words, or ability to skim/speed read.
ATTENTION DEFICIT - Problems concentrating while reading or doing school work. May have difficulty staying on task, take breaks, look away, become restless, fidgety, or tired.
STRAIN OR FATIGUE - Feeling strain, tension, fatigue, sleepy, watery eyes, eyes that hurt, ache, feel sandy, scratchy, getting headaches, or feeling nauseous, dizzy, anxious, fidgety or irritable with reading and other perceptual activities.
POOR DEPTH PERCEPTION - Inability to accurately judge distance or spatial relationships. May be unsure or have difficulty with escalators, stairs, ball sports, or driving.

What Problems Can Irlen Syndrome Cause?

efficient brain irlen correction by a child (1)
  • Light Sensitivity:  fluorescent lights, bright lights, glare, night blindness
  • Physical Symptoms:  dizziness, fatigue, headaches/migraines, stomachaches
  • Academic Difficulties:  handwriting, spelling, math, geometry, composition writing, note taking, copying, and reading maps
  • Difficulties using:  whiteboards, overheads, computers/typewriters, maps, charts, books, music, scantron sheets
  • Sports Performance
  • Depth Perception
  • Eye Tracking
  • Driving
  • Behavior Problems
  • Distractibility
  • ADHD

Research Conducted on the Irlen Method

Incidence of Irlen Syndrome in the Population
Incidence studies suggest that 46% of those with identified with reading problems, dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, or learning difficulties suffer from Irlen Syndrome and can be helped by the Irlen Method. Sometimes the Irlen Method is the only solution needed, but more often, the Irlen Syndrome is just one layer of the individual’s problems, and the Irlen Method can be one piece of the solution puzzle. This method does not replace the need for instruction, remediation, or medical intervention.

The Irlen Method in the Education System and Government Support
There are presently over 7,000 educators trained as Irlen screeners, many of whom work within school districts in the United States and over seas. Over 100,000 adults and children wear Irlen Filters and millions of individuals are using Irlen Colored Overlays. Massachusetts and Oregon have bills pending to require screening for Irlen Syndrome in all schools in these states. Alabama has recognized Irlen Syndrome/Scotopic Sensitivity as a learning disability and all recommendations including the use of Colored Filters must be allowed. The Medical Research Council at Cambridge University, Visual Perception Unit of Essex University in England, University Laboratory of Physiology at Oxford University, and Newcastle University in Australia have extensively researched and published studies on colored overlays and Colored Filters.

  • Research on Headaches and Migraines - Read more
  • Research on Traumatic Brain injuries - Read more
  • Research on Autism and Asperger's syndrome - Read more
  • FAQ's on Irlen Syndrome & Irlen Method - Read more 
efficient brain fMRI- Blank Lens A and with Precision-Tinted Spectral Filters B

Want to know if you might be affected by Irlen Syndrome? 


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    Dr. Jeri LaVigne


6284 Hunting Creek Rd NE

Atlanta, GA 30328


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