In a study of 689 individuals diagnosed with a perceptual processing problem known as Irlen Syndrome, the researchers found that, as expected, more than 90% experienced difficulty reading. Notably, more than 80% had difficulty with attention and concentration. “Independent researchers have found that about a third of individuals suffering from Irlen Syndrome have been misdiagnosed as having ADD/HD. Once you take care of their Irlen Syndrome, they no longer have attention and concentration issues,” says Helen Irlen, founder and president of the Irlen Institute. Issues with attention and concentration weren’t the only difficulties related to subjects’ perceptual processing problems. More than two-thirds reported difficulty with computer use, listening, handwriting, and copying, and more than 60% reported issues with depth perception. Irlen says, “We always knew from a clinical setting that perceptual processing problems impacted how people lived and not just how they read, but this is the first study to corroborate what our clients tell us about how they are bad drivers, bad at sports, or generally clumsy.” In addition, 62% reported having regular headaches or migraines.
The research showed that for individuals diagnosed with the perceptual processing problem known as Irlen Syndrome, Irlen Spectral Filters resulted in significant improvement for at least two-thirds of individuals in all areas assessed. Irlen Spectral Filters are precision-tinted lenses, worn as glasses, that filter out offensive wavelengths of light that cause perceptual processing problems. Irlen Syndrome affects approximately 50% of individuals with reading difficulties and dyslexia, 33% with ADD/HD, 33% with autism, and 12-14% of the general population. Irlen Syndrome is characterized by the brain’s sensitivity to a specific wavelength of light that causes physical discomfort (such as headaches and nausea) and/or distortions on the printed page or in the environment. By filtering the light entering the eye through the use of Spectral Filters, the speed at which visual information reaches the brain is modified in such a way as to allow accurate processing of that information. When the brain has trouble processing words on a page of print, the result is a reading problem. However, if one considers that all visual information (and not just pages of print) have to be processed by the brain, it makes sense that perceptual processing problems could cause trouble in a host of other areas besides reading.
The Irlen Institute is dedicated to the identification and assistance of individuals with perceptually-