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What is Irlen Syndrome?

Irlen Syndrome is a type of visual or perceptual processing disorder. This means that the individual has difficulty making sense of visual information. This is different from problems involving sight or vision. When an individual suffers from Irlen Syndrome, their brain has difficulty processing certain wavelengths of light. In this way, light (especially bright and fluorescent lighting) becomes a stressor on the brain. This stress causes certain parts of the brain (e.g., the visual cortex) to become overactive. It is this over-activity and inability to effectively process visual stimuli that creates a variety of visual, physical, cognitive, emotional, and neurological symptoms. Light sensitivity is very common with Irlen Syndrome. Irlen Syndrome is hereditary and tends to run in families, affecting males and females equally. However, an individual can also acquire symptoms of Irlen Syndrome as a result of illness, medical procedures, or traumatic brain injury (or concussion). Like Autism, Irlen Syndrome is a spectrum disorder, falling on a continuum from slight to severe. Individuals who can read or perform visually- intensive activities for 40-60 minutes before any Irlen symptoms appear are on the slight end of the spectrum. These individuals can manage most academic tasks without difficulty; but when endurance is required, their performance may deteriorate. Individuals with severe Irlen Syndrome will experience symptoms within 20 minutes of beginning to read. For some, symptoms may not begin immediately. However, symptoms will get worse the longer the individual continues to read or be in bright lighting. Fortunately, it is very easy to treat Irlen Syndrome.


Can the spectral filters be added to an optical prescription?

Yes, the Irlen spectral filters can be added to and work alongside an existing optical prescription. We would always insist on an up to date optical examination before an Irlen assessment to ensure any optical needs are met. If an individual requires both an optical prescription and Irlen filters we would need to ensure that the lenses themselves are tintable. This is ensured by your optician signing a form declaring the suitability of the lenses.

Does it matter if my optical prescription lenses have a protective coating?

Yes this would matter and we’d need to ensure that there are no protective layers or coating on the lenses which would stop the colours from being added. The form signed by your optician stating the suitability of lenses would also ask this question. Once we tint the correct lenses, we add a scratch coating to them as standard practice and as a protective layer.

What is the difference between Irlen spectral filters and a colourimetery assessment?

There are other places to obtain coloured lenses or overlays, but the reason Irlen works as well as it does isn’t because of the colour, it’s because of the method used to determine what colour you need. With over 100,000 possible custom colours, the key to our method is individualized, precision tinting, and our in-depth diagnostic protocol ensures that you end up with the specific colour your brain needs. Just because someone says they can help Irlen Syndrome, doesn’t mean they use the Irlen Method or offer Irlen Spectral Filters. Make sure you know what method of colour selection is taking place.

The Irlen Method ensures that our Spectral Filters only remove the specific wavelength of light causing your brain difficulty. As a result, when you look through Irlen Spectral Filters, you won’t see the world as the colour of the lenses. That’s right, white will look white, red will look red, all colours will look the way they should. Your world will not be tinted and things won’t look dark like sunglasses. That is the Irlen way as opposed to other methods.

Will my Irlen spectral filters match my Irlen overlay?

Just because you use a blue Irlen overlay, doesn’t mean you should go get a pair of blue glasses. In fact, we strongly caution you NOT to do this. Our research shows that the preferred overlay colour is never the same as the colour needed in Irlen Spectral Filters. Inaccurate colour selection can result in headaches, eye strain, and fragmented brain processing resulting in more distortions and reading problems

How long does it take to receive the lenses?

The time the process takes depends on whether we need to send optical lenses to the Irlen lab or for them to create lenses themselves to send to us. If we are sending lenses the entire process can take around 4 -5 weeks. However, if we are not sending glasses to the Irlen lab the process can take up to 3 weeks.


Where are we located?

We are located in Bolton, Greater Manchester, and cover all of the North West region. We have an assessment centre in Bolton but are also able to discuss bespoke requests when required.

Do we offer training on Irlen Syndrome?

Yes, we are very passionate about raising the profile of Irlen syndrome in the UK and training more people in the Irlen method. We offer regular, professional training at our venue in Bolton and are always able to discuss training in different locations and bespoke requests


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 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.

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