[A girl with dyslexia suspected to have Irlen syndrome, completely relieved by wearing tinted lenses]

No To Hattatsu. 2015 Nov;47(6):445-8.
[Article in Japanese]


Irlen syndrome is a proposed perceptual processing disorder characterized by visual distortions while reading. Patients with this syndrome may experience light sensitivity, visual stress, and other related problems such as dyslexia. Tinted lenses and colored overlays have been designed to help individuals with the symptoms of Irlen syndrome. However, there is still debate over the effectiveness of these interventions and whether this syndrome actually exists. In this report, we describe a case involving an 8-year-old girl with dyslexia who experienced severe visual hypersensitivity and whose symptoms completely resolved after wearing tinted lenses. While it is possible that she experienced a psychogenic visual disturbance that was relieved because of the placebo effect, the clinical course of her symptoms matched the findings previously described by Irlen. The patient was unable to read without tinted lenses. With tinted lenses, she could read at the appropriate age level, suggesting that her difficulty was due to a problem in optical information processing. The concepts underlying Irlen syndrome are vaguely defined, and several groups insist that the visual stress associated with this syndrome might be responsible for dyslexia as well as other disorders. These ambiguous criteria may be responsible for the criticism over the validity of this condition. Although this was only an anecdotal case, our patient exhibited the core functional deficit described in Irlen syndrome and showed a dramatic improvement with tinted lenses; therefore, this case may facilitate investigations into the mechanism underlying Irlen syndrome, if it actually exists. Although further studies are required to confirm the validity of this syndrome and the treatment approach, Irlen syndrome should be recognized as a disorder since its symptoms can be easily relieved by wearing tinted lenses or color filters.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Color
  • Dyslexia / etiology
  • Dyslexia / therapy*
  • Eyeglasses
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Vision Disorders / complications
  • Vision Disorders / therapy*