Irlen Syndrome Symptoms

Each person with Irlen Syndrome displays very individual Irlen symptoms differing in type, severity and onset speed.

- the key to resolving these individual problem is using the Irlen method to tailor the diagnostics for that person so arriving at the best colour filters

Light Sensitivity

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LIGHT SENSITIVITY. Individuals who can be helped by the Irlen Method do not like florescent lighting and prefer dim lighting. Staying focused with listening or reading under florescent lights is more difficult and can even cause strain and discomfort. Most individuals with Irlen Syndrome prefer to read in dim lighting; although some need bright lights to read


Reading Problems

PROBLEMS READING ON WHITE PAPER. Individuals who can be helped with the Irlen Method cannot read for long periods and take breaks or prefer to read newspapers and magazines. Reading on white paper is uncomfortable and often requires rereading for comprehension. The white page may be glary or compete with the black print, making the letters less readable. The same problems can occur with numbers and musical notes.

INEFFICIENT READING. Individuals with Irlen Syndrome have difficulty reading print, numbers or musical notes because the print is not clear or stable. Problems may include print that shifts, shakes, blurs, moves, runs together, disappears or becomes difficult to perceive. Many individuals have never seen print correctly and are not aware that the way they see the printed page is not clear or stable. They think everyone sees the page the way that they do.

SLOW READING RATE. Individuals who can be helped may have problems tracking, a slow reading rate, word-by-word reading, or have an inability to speed-read. Individuals often use their finger or a marker when reading


Attention & Concentration

PROBLEMS WITH ATTENTION & CONCENTRATION. Problems in concentration when reading, writing, or working on the computer may be due to Irlen Syndrome. The individual may have difficulty staying on task, take frequent breaks, and become restless, fidgety or tired when doing reading, studying, or doing other visual tasks


Strain & Fatigue

STRAIN OR FATIGUE. Individuals who are helped with Irlen Spectral Filters often experience discomfort. Individuals may become tired; others experience headaches, dizzy, sleepy, anxious, irritable, and fidgety or have an inability to stay focused. Discomfort can interfere with the length of time and ease of reading, studying, or doing homework making breaks necessary


Headaches & Migraines

HEADACHES, MIGRAINES, stomachaches, dizziness and fatigue are a few of the physical symptoms which may be alleviated by the Irlen Method. These symptoms can have a variety of triggers, and those who benefit from wearing Irlen Spectral Filters may demonstrate the following problems:

  • Discomfort in sunlight

  • Discomfort in bright lights or fluorescent lights

  • Prefer dim lighting

  • Bothered by headlights at night

  • Bothered by glare

  • Discomfort with computer use

  • Stress or strain with sustained reading

  • Stress or strain from visually-intensive activities

  • Difficulty looking at stripes or patterns

  • Certain colors are bright and bothersome

  • Snow, rain, and hazy days can appear to be glary


Print or Environmental Distortions

Words on the page lack clarity or stability; i.e., may appear to be blurry, moving, or disappear.

Some individuals do not see objects with stability and correct position.


Depth Perception

  • Poor spatial or body awareness

  • Light sensitivity

  • Difficulties with stairs, escalators, or catching balls

  • Poor small or gross motor coordination


The Irlen Method provides a unique service for some children and adults identified with reading and learning difficulties, low motivation, attention deficit disorder (ADHD), discipline problems, headaches and migraines, autism, and traumatic brain injury. The symptoms of Irlen Syndrome are wide-ranging, but our technology focuses on one core problem: the brain’s inability to process visual information. You don’t have to have a diagnosed reading or learning problem benefit from the Irlen Method. Even good readers and gifted students can be helped

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Irlen Trademark used with permission of Helen Irlen