Irlen Syndrome (Meares-Irlen Syndrome/ Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome/ Visual Stress)

According to the Irlen Institute it is a perceptual processing disorder and not an optical problem. It is a difficulty with the brain’s ability to process visual information. The Irlen Method is scientifically proven to correct Scotopic Sensitivity and is supported by studies undertaken by experts in the fields of education, psychology, medicine, ophthalmology and neuroscience from around the world over the last 30 years.  Irlen affects 15% of the general population, an estimated 50% of individuals with reading and learning difficulties and 30% of individuals with ADHD and autism experience symptoms of Irlen Syndrome. Irlen Syndrome has also progressively been connected to individuals with chronic headaches and migraines.

Some warning signs to that could indicate a difficulty with Irlen Syndrome

Reading Problems:

  • Poor comprehension
  • Misreads words
  • Problems tracking from line to line
  • Reads in dim light
  • Skips words or lines
  • Reads slowly or hesitantly
  • Takes breaks
  • Loses place
  • Avoids reading


  • Strain and fatigue
  • Tired or sleepy
  • Headaches or nausea
  • Fidgety or restless
  • Eyes that hurt or become watery

Attention and Concentration Problems:

  • Problems with concentration when reading and doing academic tasks
  • Often people can appear to have other conditions, such as attention deficit disorder, and are given medication unnecessarily.

Writing Problems:

  • Trouble copying
  • Unequal spacing
  • Unequal letter size
  • Writing up or downhill
  • Inconsistent spelling

Other Characteristics:

  • Strain or fatigue from computer use
  • Difficulty reading music
  • Sloppy, careless math errors
  • Misaligned numbers in columns
  • Ineffective use of study time
  • Lack of motivation
  • Grades do not reflect the amount of effort

Depth Perception:

  • Clumsiness
  • Difficulty catching balls
  • Difficulty judging distances


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