Irlen Syndrome

Irlen Syndrome is a specific type of perceptual difference that affects the way the brain processes visual information. It is not an optical problem.

For those with Irlen Syndrome, the brain is unable to process full spectral light. This can result in:

  • A range of distortions in the environment.
  • A range of distortions on the printed page.
  • physical and behavioural symptoms.

It is exacerbated by environmental factors such as lighting, brightness, glare, high contrast, patterns and colours. Irlen Syndrome affects people of all ages to varying degrees.

Irlen Syndrome Symptoms

Irlen Syndrome has a wide range of symptoms which may vary from person to person. These symptoms may be first noticed in childhood but affect people throughout their lives. These symptoms are effectively dealt with by the use of Irlen Overlays, or Filters worn as glasses or contact lenses, following either an initial screening or a thorough assessment and colour evaluation by a trained Irlen Assessor/Diagnostician.

Studies have shown that 12-15% of the population are affected by Irlen Syndrome.
However, it is largely undiagnosed because:

  • it is not an obvious problem.
  • it is not identified by standard visual and medical examinations or by educational and psychological assessments.
  • those affected think that the perceptual distortions that they experience are “normal”.

They assume that everyone else perceives the page and the environment as they do and also experience the same physical discomfort.

Following your pre-assessment it was identified that there are indicators that may be related to Irlen Syndrome. As a result, it may be advantageous for you to have an initial Irlen screening.
An initial screening for Irlen will identify if you do have perceptual difficulties and you may be provided with one or more coloured overlays to eradicate the difficulties you may have when reading.

There are a number of Irlen practitioners across the UK information about which can be found here

This includes Stephanie Jamison who is the South Wales and West representative, she can be emailed or called direct on Telephone: 01242 539810 or Mobile: 07817 799268.

Stephanie can provide further information on initial screenings and full assessments and can also provide information on local assessors.

Please note that initial screenings cost in the region of £45 which you will have to fund.
Following initial screenings and use of your overlays you may be asked to report back on the effectiveness of your overlays, this may then result in a further recommendation being made for a full diagnostic assessment. The result of a full diagnostic assessment being a non-invasive patented treatment that uses precision tinted 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.

Full diagnostic assessments cost in the region of £335 and funding will also be required to cover the cost of frames if choosing glasses. However, if you already have a diagnosis for a specific learning difficulty you may be eligible for Disabled Students Allowances (DSA) to cover the cost of a full diagnostic assessment.

Please note there is no DSA funding available for initial screenings.
If you would like to discuss this further with a Disability Adviser please contact us

A book which may be helpful: Reading by the Colors. Overcoming Dyslexia and other reading disabilities through the Irlen Method, by Helen Irlen, printed by Avery