Irlen Syndrome is a visual processing difficulty so connected to the brain not the structure of the eye.
This week I saw a 16 year old girl who had been given an overlay (clear plastic sheet of a prescribed color) to help with visual distortions when reading. It stopped words going blurry, letters popping out and the text swirling on the page. These effects she experienced with her prescription eye glasses but as she also had Irlen Syndrome color was needed to improve her perception.
Although an overlay can be put over text when reading it can’t be used when the student is writing or doing calculations on a page (so any exam papers). This 16 year old girl had severe Irlen Syndrome and was also experiencing the following:
Blurry squares on graph paper
Lined paper looked slanted
Musical notes coming out at her
It was found that these visual distortions were stopped by a combination of 3 different colored lenses which are to be made into tinted Irlen glasses. This combination also helped her with difficulties in the environment including light sensitivity (which is a fundamental Irlen symptom) and the following:
Glare from cars ‘coming out and hurting’ her eyes
Difficulty with brightness on phone/computer
Daily headaches and weekly migraines
Whiteboard difficult to look at and blurry
Constantly needing to rub her eyes and feeling very tired
Lastly this student just happened to mention that she wouldn’t need to ask the teachers anymore to warn her when they were going to put on the fluorescent lights - so she could shut her eyes to avoid an instant migraine. What a difference these Irlen glasses are going to make to her life and prospects!