Irlen’s syndrome, also knowns as Meares-Irlen Syndrome and Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, is a brain perception processing disorder. The problem is NOT a vision problem; it is when the brain is unable to process visual information. Often problems are exacerbated by bright lights and fluorescent lighting.

It’s been shown that about 46% of people with reading problems have Irlen’s syndrome. Treatment for Iren’s syndrome can be part of the solution or resolve the entire issue. Irlen can be genetic, or acquired through brain damage through a knock on the head.

Symptoms of Irlen’s syndrome

-Don’t like bright lights and wears sunglasses, even when cloudy.

-Have night blindness/ have difficulty with bright lights at night.

-Frequent migraines/ headaches, or unexplained stomach aches in children.

-Reading difficulties which are not related to poor sight. Reading may be slow, difficult, with poor comprehension.

-Readers may use a finger or some other guide to maintain their place on the page.

-Poor concentration with frequent breaks needed.

-Poor depth perception.

-Struggle to catch/ hit a ball.

For a full list of symptoms, go to

Can Irlen’s syndrome be fixed?

The problem itself can’t be fixed, but corrections can be made to remove the symptoms. Irlen coloured overlays which are placed over writing or a computer screen can help the brain perceive the information clearly. Coloured lenses in eyeglasses can be a more effective solution as it works in all scenarios.

If a child has the correct tint prescribed and wears the lenses consistently, symptoms may disappear by the time they begin puberty.

The filters help to balance the brain functioning by filtering out the specific wavelengths of light that the child (or adult) is sensitive to. This allows the brain to better process the information, removes discomfort and distortion, and the over-active brain resumes normal functioning.

Practice or tutoring will not help a child with Irlen’s syndrome. Once the coloured filters are in use, tutoring may help them get up to speedfaster.

Each In2 Learning centre has a trained Irlen specialist who can quickly make an assessment. We can refer your child to a trained optometrist who will work with your child to choose the correct colour choice and ensuring your child doesn’t fall behind in their education.