You can be born with Irlen Syndrome or it can be ‘acquired’ by certain medical conditions or concussions that result in typical Irlen symptoms such as light sensitivity, headaches/migraines, difficulty with black on white contrast such as text on a page or patterns.
Last month I saw a client aged 19 years for an Irlen Screening. She had experienced a concussion 5 years previously which resulted in plates being put in her head to support her neck and surgery to remove part of her skull to relieve pressure on her brain.
Since the concussion fluorescent lights have become an issue and this got worse after the surgery. She explained that she gets an adrenalin rush in response to lighting. She feels ‘shaky’ and her environment seems ‘too real’ - her brain becomes overloaded by visual information and sounds.
My client was an A student before her concussion, now she has given up reading for pleasure as it is ‘too much work’ and she is employed as a Nanny and in a Day Care. She finds reading from a computer screen or phone even more difficult than from a page.
This client researched her symptoms and found my Irlen Clinic. We found she needed a combination of 3 overlays to be able to read in fluorescent light or from a computer screen. Without the overlays the margins ‘waved’, letters were different heights and floated above the page, text was blurred and the white page was bright and glary. No wonder she had given up reading! Her mother became quite emotional and wished she had heard of this therapy earlier as she felt her daughter had struggled so much over the last 5 years and had so much potential.
I recommended that this client returns for the Irlen glasses which will aim to protect her from fluorescent light, minimize headaches (which she gets multiple times in a week) and help with her visual overload which results in objects shifting in and out when she tries to focus on them.