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Meares Irlen Syndrome


Meares – Irlen Syndrome is a form of visual stress which leads to difficulties with fine vision tasks such as reading. This eye condition was identified in 1980 and although the condition is not yet fully understood, it is known to affect reading ability.

One in five people with dyslexia may have visual stress and may find coloured glasses helpful. We treat the visual symptoms which are sometimes associated with dyslexia. Binocular instability can also be a factor contributing to a childs reading difficulties. The existance of visual stress and it's treatment with coloured filters remains controversial due to a mixed body of evidence.


The condition affects epileptics, migraine sufferers, people with ME and MS, and others.  It is not curable but can be helped and significant improvements can be made.


The symptoms will have been present throughout your life but some people experience symptoms after a minute of reading, others find the symptoms take longer to appear. The degree of symptoms can also vary from person to person with more marked symptoms creating barriers to successful reading.


General Problems May Include


  • Strain working under bright lighting

  • Difficulty finding comfortable lighting

  • Glare from bright objects

  • Eye strain

  • Headaches from reading, working at a computer, watching TV, supermarket lighting.


Symptoms Resulting from Reading may include:


  • Poor comprehension

  • Skips words or lines

  • Reads slowly or hesitantly

  • Loses place

  • Eye Strain


When reading you may see the words:


  • Jumping off the page

  • Spinning

  • Moving around

  • Not staying where they are supposed to


Symptoms Judging Distances may include:


  • Clumsiness

  • Accident Prone

  • Bumps into things

  • Difficulty catching small balls


If you have any of the above symptoms, it is advisable to have a standard vision test. If, after the eye test and the appropriate treatment, the symptoms remain, you ought to be tested for Meares – Irlen syndrome.


Treatment for Meares – Irlen

There are a number of treatments for Meares – Irlen syndrome and different people will have different outcomes from the treatment. Some can gain significant improvements, some no more than a 5 -10% correction. However, some improvement is better than none at all. Treatment for Meares – Irlen may well improve the ability to read.


Treatment involves the use of colour and simple eye exercises. Coloured overlays and glasses have been shown to lessen the effects of visual stress. Likewise, regular simple exercises to train the eye and increase coordination have had some success as well. 


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