Irlen Syndrome

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I had never heard of Irlen Syndrome until a few days ago when a woman named Amy Lombardo contacted me with some information. Amy tells me that many children who have ADHD and reading problems may be affected by Irlen Syndrome and that it is a condition that medical professionals and educators are largely unaware of.

Here is how Amy explains it:

The condition is called Irlen Syndrome, also known as Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome (SSS). Individuals with Irlen Syndrome have an extreme sensitivity to light that can lead to a number of difficulties, the most common of which are eye strain, migraines, headaches, reading problems, learning problems, poor depth perception, nausea, and fatigue. Many individuals with Irlen Syndrome are also diagnosed or misdiagnosed with dyslexia, ADHD, or ADD. Approximately 12-14% of the population is affected by Irlen Syndrome, though many of these individuals don’t know it, or worse yet, are misdiagnosed with some other condition or even labeled as learning disabled.

Once an individual is properly tested for Irlen Syndrome, they can be treated with a non-invasive, patented technology that uses colored overlays and filters to improve the brain’s ability to process visual information. The relief of symptoms is almost always immediate. This method, the Irlen Method, is the only method scientifically proven to successfully correct the processing problems associated with Irlen Syndrome. This treatment was first created in 1980 and is now being used to help migraine and headache sufferers, children with reading and learning problems, dyslexics, and many more individuals in over 42 countries worldwide.

Amy was also kind enough to provide me with some resources for further information, including a link to a report that Peter Jennings did for the World News. I have included those links below.

Peter Jennings Reports on Irlen Syndrome on World News:

Do you Have Irlen Syndrome? Self Test:

Irlen Syndrome: A Teen’s Summary: a brief but very engaging video on You Tube about Irlen syndrome, its symptoms, and the solution. Check it out here:

I am very intrigued by Irlen Syndrome and intend to do further research. I’m starting to wonder if at least one of my own children may have it. Next time, I’ll share my thoughts.

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Lacy Estelle

Lacy Estelle is the writer of and the Podcast host for An ADD Woman.

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3 Responses

  1. Two of my children and I were diagnosed with Irlen syndrome 3 years ago. As a family physician, I had not heard of this entity but I have no doubt that it exists. Our common symptom is difficulty reading under fluorescent light. My son was labelled as having an auditory memory impairment in grade 5 that somehow rendered him unable to read ( I never understood that one either!). By the end of grade 6 he was barely able to read at a grade 2 level unless he was given double the time to do it. He still doesn’t love to read, but is now surviving his 3rd year of mechanical engineering, thanks to tinted contact lenses. My daughter wears them at school as well. We have modified the lighting in our home to be very soft, indirect and no fluorescents. I don’t know what we will do if incandescents are banned.
    Check out the websites by Roger Wheaton – he has done an excellent job of linking a lot of the info that is out there. Good luck with your adventure.

  2. Thank you for sharing that with us Sharon. Sounds as though finding the true cause has really made a positive impact in your family. Your son’s story is especially inspiring. Thank you again. I will check out the site you mentioned.

  3. It does seem strange to me when people don’t know about Irlen syndrome, but it does seem to be a relatively obscure topic! I was born and raised in South Africa and I can remember a number of my schoolmates being diagnosed with the condition and using coloured overlays or tinted glasses to help. Then I moved to the UK and very few people seem to have heard of it – I don’t really know why.
    So it’s good to see that it is finally becoming more widely known.

    There’s another article here – I don’t know if it’ll be of use to you but I thought I’d post it anyway: