top of page

What is Irlen Syndrome?

Irlen Syndrome is a hereditary, visual-perceptual problem that prevents an estimated 14-18% of the population from being able to read efficiently. Irlen Syndrome is not a vision problem of the eye. Irlen Syndrome is the visual-perceptual reception site of the brain perceiving the timing of light waves ineffectively. The disorder remains undetected by standard educational, visual, and medical tests. Psychologist

Individuals with Irlen Syndrome perceive the printed page and sometimes their environment differently. Unlike those without the disorder, reading becomes more difficult over time and physically exhausting. Also, it can affect attention span, listening, energy level, motivation, and work production.

Others may view individuals with Irlen Syndrome as underachievers or as having behavioral, attitudinal, or motivational problems. Irlen Syndrome often coexists with other learning difficulties and should not be held in isolation as the only existing problem. Some people already diagnosed with learning difficulties may be suffering from Irlen Syndrome in addition. More importantly, it should be stressed that the treatment for Irlen Syndrome is not a cure-all but rather a piece of the puzzle for the individual.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Color alters the timing in which the person receives and processes much like photographers use colored filters for various effects ( Yellen-Schweller Effect ) . The patented Irlen Treatment Method uses precision-tinted filters, worn as glasses, to reduce visual-perceptual difficulties and light sensitivity.

The evaluator performs an initial screening to determine whether or not the individual is suffering from Irlen Syndrome. The assessment includes the use of colored overlays versus white pages to assess possible improvements. If the evaluator determines that the individual has Irlen Syndrome, a full diagnostic tint evaluation is recommended.

The diagnostic assessment is an in-depth evaluation to determine the most beneficial color. After determining the specific tint, the Irlen laboratory utilizes a computerized spectrophotometer to place the exact tint on the lenses.

Positive results obtained from the use of Irlen Lenses™ may include: improved reading accuracy; better comprehension; increased reading speed; increased productivity; reduced strain and fatigue; improved academic and work performance; and reduction of visually- induced headaches and migraines.

Yellen & Associates is a Certified Diagnostic Center for the Irlen Lenses™ and the Irlen Methods of treating Irlen Syndrome.


Light Sensitivity (Photophobia)

  • Bothered by glare

  • Bothered by fluorescent or halogen lighting

  • Discomfort concentrating under bright lights


Problems with Print Resolution

  • Difficulty reading on high gloss, white paper

  • High contrast interferes with ease of reading

  • Difficulty with text, numbers, or columns

  • Difficulty with musical lines or notes

  • Print shakes, blurs, moves, or disappears

  • White “rivers” criss-cross the page


Restricted Reading Span

  • Inability to read words or numbers in groups

  • Difficulty skimming text


Attentional Problems

  • Problems concentrating while reading, writing, or listening

  • Becoming fidgety or restless when reading


Poor Depth Perception

  • Difficulty accurately judging distance

  • Difficulty with spatial relationships

  • Trouble with escalators

  • Poor eye- hand coordination


Other Possible Symptoms

  • Headaches or migraines during visual task

  • Agitation in bright light

  • Prefer dim light for reading

  • Restricted affect in bright light

  • Wearing sunglasses even on cloudy days

  • Keeping blinds or curtains drawn


Subject Specific Problems


  • Poor comprehension

  • Skips words or lines

  • Reads slowly or hesitantly

  • Takes many breaks while reading

  • Loses place often

  • Avoids reading whenever possible

  • Usually reads in very dim light

  • Often misreads words

  • Complains of strain or fatigue when reading

  • Gets tired or sleepy when reading



  • Trouble copying from board or book

  • Unequal spacing of letters or words

  • Writes uphill or downhill even with lines



  • Difficulty aligning numbers in columns

  • Reads mechanical signs incorrectly

  • Miscalculates because of losing place

  • Careless errors



  • Difficulty accurately judging distance

  • Difficulty catching objects

  • Problems judging speed

  • Performance varies with light conditions


Other Areas of Concern

  • Strains from computer use

  • Problems reading music

  • Test taking on a scantron sheet is difficult.

Click to download Irlen Self Test

bottom of page