VisionLink – New learning through sight

Vision Link Behavioural Optometrists provide research based treatment for convergence insufficiency, oculomotor dysfunction, spelling and reading problems, dyslexia, attention deficit disorders, Aspergers, Learning Related Vision Disabilities, migraine and brain injuries. We are uniquely positioned to assist Visual Perception through the use of Vision Therapy, Irlen tinted lenses and Cellfield Intervention.

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Home > How We Help > Learning Related Problems > Visual Disabilities: Dyslexia & Dyseidesia, Irlen Syndrome > Irlen Syndrome > FAQ on Irlen Syndrome

Frequently Asked Questions on Irlen Syndrome

Click on the links below to read most frequently asked questions regarding Irlen:

What happens when I come for Irlen testing?

The assessment process is separated into two testing sessions. The first session is called the Irlen Screening. You will do various perceptual tasks with a certified Irlen Screener or Diagnostician. The testing creates an awareness of the various distortions you are experiencing when reading, educates as to what a page should be like, and determines if your symptoms are slight, moderate or severe. At this first session, we establish the color of the overlay (plastic sheet) which will provide the greatest benefit for reading. You will be given this overlay to take home to use when reading. You will be able to see for yourself immediate changes and improvement when reading in one or more of the following skills:

  • Reading rate
  • Flow and fluency
  • Comfort
  • Tracking
  • Comprehension
  • Sight vocabulary
  • Sustained attention
  • Ability to skim or speed read
  • Error rate

For those that the Irlen Spectral Filters (coloured overlays) improve reading, they go on for the second session, The Irlen Diagnostic & Tint Assessment. During the tint assessment, you work with different colored lenses to create your own unique color. This colour filters out your offending wave lengths of light. Each person ends up with their own unique color. By filtering only certain wave lengths of light, reading, attention, light sensitivity, headaches and other physical symptoms improve or disappear.

The colour you will wear as lenses is usually different from the overlay color. Thus, do not tint glasses the same colour as your overlay. The overlay makes the page look coloured. With the Irlen lenses, the page will still look white; but the print will be clear, stable and comfortable. Irlen lenses will not change the colour of what you are looking at or make things darker.

How common is Irlen Syndrome?

Around 50% of children and adults with reading, learning, or attention problems have Irlen Syndrome. For some, the Irlen Method is the complete solution. For others, the Irlen Method is just part of the puzzle as there will be other reading/learning problems that need to be addressed. Irlen Spectral Filters will make the print clear, stable, easy to see and comfortable. The Irlen Method is not a method of reading instruction or remediation but using Irlen colored overlays and lenses will allow your child to make progress and benefit from reading instruction. For many, the Irlen Method will allow you or your child to utilize your reading skills with ease and comfort. With the Irlen Method, the child and adult will be able to read for long periods with good comprehension.

Can Good Readers have Irlen Syndrome?

About 12 - 14% of good readers and even gifted students can benefit from the Irlen Method. For these individuals, using Irlen coloured overlays and lenses will allow them to finish work faster, get better grades, do better on standardized tests, and eliminate headaches and other symptoms of strain and fatigue. Good readers no longer avoid reading and find they can read for hours comfortably.

If I have ADD or ADHD, can I be helped with Irlen Spectral Filters?

About 33% of those individuals with problems of attention, concentration, starting tasks, completing tasks, sitting still, and working under fluorescent lights can be helped by the Irlen Method. Irlen Spectral Filters may be a drug-free alternative.

Has there been research on the Irlen Method?

Yes, over 54 research papers have been published in peer-reviewed journals showing significant changes in reading rate, accuracy, and comprehension. In addition to educational studies and school district research, medical and biochemical research has documented the existence of Irlen Syndrome and the positive changes wearing Irlen Coloured Lenses. Long term studies show positive feedback from people who have been wearing Irlen Spectral Filters for over 6 years.

Research indicates that just as many girls as boys can be helped with the Irlen Method. One study of 751 children with Irlen Syndrome found that 84% had at least one parent with Irlen Syndrome, indicating that this problem is genetic and runs in families.

Click here here to see the research bibliography.

Can everyone with reading problems benefit from Irlen Filters?

No. Only if you have a particular type of perceptual processing problem. These problems affect fluency; speed, accuracy, and comprehension. Difficulty with phonics and language can also interfere with learning to read, and these problems are not corrected by the Irlen Method.

Problems related to language difficulties, phonic skills and sight vocabulary are not typically helped by Irlen Spectral Filters.

Why do I need to have my vision checked before Irlen testing?

Eye health checks & basic vision problems should be corrected before testing since the Irlen Method does not treat pathology nor does it replace the need for prescription focus glasses.

What causes Irlen Syndrome?

Medical research has shown that this type of perceptual problem appears to be caused by a defect in one of the visual pathways that carries messages from the eye to the brain. This defect causes a timing fault in processing visual information. Filtering out specific wave lengths of light helps the pathway to function normally.

Would coloured sunglasses or tinted lenses from an Optometrist help?

No. What makes Irlen Spectral Filters work is the testing process which can identify the individual's symptoms and determine the correct colour to eliminate the problems for that individual. Only certified Irlen diagnosticians are trained in this process. Optometrists generally do not have the testing methods or range of colours needed to correct problems of how the brain processes visual information.

Are there iPhone / Android Apps for Irlen Syndrome ?

Yes, an Irlen App is now available!
It is called iOverlay, can be downloaded to your iPhone, iPod, and iPad if you Click here.
The app allows you to change the colour of images as you view through your camera to look at a document. This also allows you to mve the camera closer, to effectively enlarge the text size.

There is also another App called aaLuminate Click Here This is quite clever because it can also be used to illuminate the text.


For the Irlen App for Android called Irlen Info App Click Here