Visique Eye Spy | Irlen Syndrome: A Guide To This Visual Processing…

Irlen Syndrome: A Guide To This Visual Processing Disorder and Neurodiversity

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At Visique Eye Spy, we believe in shedding light on lesser-known eye conditions that can significantly impact lives. One such condition is Irlen Syndrome, a unique visual processing disorder that often goes unnoticed. In this article, we'll provide you with a comprehensive overview of Irlen Syndrome, including how it’s diagnosed, the symptoms and treatment options.

Irlen Syndrome, also known as Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome (SSS) or simply "Irlen," is a visual processing disorder that affects how your brain interprets visual information. It is named after Helen Irlen, who first identified the condition in the early 1980s. Unlike common eye problems that involve your eyes themselves, Irlen Syndrome relates to how your brain perceives and processes the world around you. 

Symptoms of Irlen Syndrome

Recognising Irlen Syndrome symptoms is crucial for early detection. Some common signs and symptoms of this condition include:

Light Sensitivity: You may experience discomfort or sensitivity to bright lights or glare, such fluorescent lights, brightness on devices and white, shiny pages. This sensitivity can make it challenging to engage in activities under certain lighting conditions.

Print Distortions: Text may appear to move, flicker, or blur for those with Irlen Syndrome, making reading a frustrating and tiring task.

Eye Strain and Fatigue: Prolonged reading or exposure to visually complex environments can lead to eye strain, fatigue, headaches, and discomfort.

Difficulty with Reading: You may struggle with reading comprehension, word recognition, and tracking text, which can impact our daily lives, education and careers.

Reduced Concentration: Maintaining focus and attention can be a challenge, particularly when visual stimuli are present. It may also be difficult to remember what you have read.

Screening for Irlen Syndrome

Diagnosing Irlen Syndrome requires a specialised Irlen Syndrome test and a screening procedure conducted by a certified Irlen Syndrome specialist. The process typically involves the following steps:

Patient History: A specialist gathers information about your visual and reading experiences, including any discomfort or difficulties you might be experiencing.

Symptom Assessment: You are assessed for common symptoms associated with Irlen Syndrome, such as light sensitivity, visual distortions, and reading difficulties.

Colour Overlay Testing: This involves placing different coloured overlays over printed text to determine if certain colours can ease the visual discomfort you are experiencing.

Intuitive Colour Selection: Based on your responses and preferences, the specialist assists in identifying the most comfortable and effective colour overlays.

Treatment for Irlen Syndrome

So how is Irlen Syndrome treated? The primary treatment involves the use of specially tinted lenses, known as Irlen Spectral Filters. These lenses are designed to filter out specific wavelengths of light, reducing the visual distortions and discomfort you experience.

The treatment process includes:

The Irlen Diagnostic Colour Assessment: After the screening, a customised colour assessment or Irlen Diagnostic assessment is conducted to determine the precise tint needed for you. This ensures that the Irlen Spectral Filters effectively ease your specific symptoms.

Lens Prescription: Based on the Irlen Diagnostic assessment, the specialist prescribes Irlen spectral filtered lenses that match your needs. These lenses can be incorporated into specialist Irlen Syndrome glasses, or worn as stand-alone lenses. They can even be fitted as a separate magnet clip-on to wear on top of clear spectacle lenses. Our team at Visique Eye Spy are experts in finding ways to best suit your needs and lifestyle.

Regular Follow-ups: Regular follow-up appointments with the Irlen Syndrome specialist ensure that the prescribed lenses continue to meet your needs, and adjustments are made as necessary.

With these treatments followed, individuals with Irlen Syndrome can experience significant relief from symptoms, such as reduced light sensitivity, improved reading comfort, and enhanced concentration.

Irlen Syndrome may not be widely understood, but it is a common condition that can greatly affect your quality of life. If you suspect that you or a loved one may have Irlen Syndrome, we encourage you to head into Eye Spy for an Irlen Screening Appointment with Adrian Reedy, our qualified screener. If Adrian finds that you meet the criteria for a diagnostic assessment then he can refer you to our diagnostician Maile for an Irlen Diagnostic test.

When the appointment is complete with Maile and the correct tint has been diagnosed, you can have individual spectral filters made to reduce your systems and support your vision.

If you have questions or concerns about Irlen Syndrome or wish to explore treatment options, please don't hesitate to reach out or schedule an appointment. We're here to help.

About the author

Maile Tarsau