Frequently Asked Questions
Would colored sunglasses or tinted lenses from an optometrist help?
No. What makes Irlen Filters work is the patented testing process which can identify the individual’s symptoms and determine the correct color to eliminate the problems. Only certified Irlen diagnosticians are trained in this process. Vision specialists do not have the testing methods or range of colors needed to correct problems of how the brain processes visual information.
Irlen Filters have transformed my life. Plagued by severe, debilitating migraines for many years, Irlen Filters have enabled me to teach, eliminating the brightness and glare in the classroom and on computers. The filters have calmed the brain, given me more confidence, and also allowed me to touch the lives of students, teachers, and adults as an Irlen Screener. -- Elesa O
What causes Irlen Syndrome?
Medical research has shown that this type of perceptual problem appears to be caused by a defect in one of the visual pathways that carries messages from the eye to the brain. This defect causes a timing fault in processing visual information. Filtering out specific wave lengths of light helps the pathway to function normally.
Why do I need to have my vision checked before Irlen testing?
Visual problems should be corrected before testing since the Irlen Method does not correct visual problems nor does it replace the need for glasses.
Can everyone with reading problems benefit from Irlen Filters?
No. Only if you have a type of perceptual processing problem. Processing problems affect flow, fluency, accuracy, and comprehension. Difficulty with phonics and language can also interfere with learning to read, and these problems are not corrected by the Irlen Method. Problems related to language differences and poor phonic skills and sight vocabulary can only be helped with appropriate reading instruction.
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 Colored 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. Read the latest summary about Irlen Research.
Do I have Dyslexia or Irlen Syndrome?
One can have both Dyslexia and Irlen Syndrome. The document titled Do I have Dyslexia or Irlen Syndrome, can provide direction.
If I have ADD or ADHD, can I be helped with Irlen Spectral Filters?
About 33% of those individuals with problems of attention, concentration, starting tasks, completing tasks, sitting still, and working under fluorescent lights can be helped by the Irlen Method. Irlen Filters may be a drug-free alternative.
Can Good Readers have SSS?
About 12 – 14% of good readers and even gifted students can benefit from the Irlen Method. For these individuals, using Irlen colored overlays and lenses will allow them to finish work faster, get better grades, do better on standardized tests, and eliminate headaches and other symptoms of strain and fatigue. Good readers no longer avoid reading and find they can read for hours comfortably.
I'm so proud that Neal chose to wear his Irlen glasses for his graduation photo. He wanted to show everyone how they helped him to achieve his goals --Neal's Mom
How common is Irlen Syndrome?
Around 50% of children and adults with reading, learning, or attention problems have Irlen Syndrome. For some, the Irlen Method is the solution. For others, the Irlen Method is just part of the puzzle as there will be other reading/learning problems that need to be addressed. Irlen Filters will make the print clear, stable, easy to see and comfortable. The Irlen Method is not a method of reading instruction or remediation but using Irlen colored overlays and lenses will allow your child to make progress and benefit from reading instruction. For many, the Irlen Method will allow you or your child to utilize your reading skills with ease and comfort. With the Irlen Method, the child and adult will be able to read for long periods with good comprehension.
What happens when I come for testing?
The assessment process is separated into two testing sessions. The first session is called the Screening. You will do various perceptual tasks with a certified Irlen Screener or Diagnostician. The testing creates an awareness of the various distortions you are experiencing when reading, educates as to what a page should be like, and determines if your symptoms are slight, moderate or severe. At this first session, we establish the color of the overlay (plastic sheet) which will provide the greatest benefit for reading. You will be given this overlay to take home to use when reading. You will be able to see for yourself immediate changes and improvement when reading in one or more of the following skills:
- Reading rate
- Flow and fluency
- Sight vocabulary
- Sustained attention
- Ability to skim or speed read
- Error rate
For those that the Irlen Colored Overlays improve reading, they go on for the second session, Tint Assessment. During the tint assessment, you work with different colored lenses to create your own unique color. This color filters out your offending wave lengths of light. Each person ends up with their own unique color. By filtering only certain wave lengths of light, reading, attention, light sensitivity, headaches and other physical symptoms improve or disappear. The color you will wear as lenses is usually different from the overlay color. Thus, do not tint glasses the same color as your overlay. The overlay makes the page look colored. With the Irlen lenses, the page will still look white; but the print will be clear, stable and comfortable. Irlen lenses will not change the color of what you are looking at or make things darker.
How much does screening cost?
An initial Irlen Screening assessment is $150. You will leave the appointment with one overlay (extra overlays may be purchased at $5 each) and a two page summary report for school accommodation purposes if needed. The Irlen Filter testing process and lab fees vary due to the needs of the clients. Sadly insurance does not cover the Irlen testing process. Some clients can get some help from their vision plans to purchase frames and in some cases vocational rehabilitation, community social service agencies, The Lions Club/Rotary Club, military programs, and other private and government programs have provided funds for testing and lab fees. Our office accepts all credit cards and can accept payment through health savings accounts.