What is Irlen Syndrome?

Individuals with Irlen Syndrome (‘Irlens’), perceive the world around them in a distorted way. Their eyes “see” things well, but they have difficulty processing what they see.

Irlen Syndrome is not a learning difficulty, and can be helped by using coloured lenses or filters.

The Empowered Learning Trust runs an Irlen Screening Project to identify children with Irlen Syndrome and then fit them with corrective lenses for FREE.  Read more……

  Could you have Irlen Syndrome?   green apple

Irlen checklist

If you say yes to three or more of these questions you could be a candidate for Irlens screening.

Contact us at Empowered Learning Trust or 

Click here to find your Irlen Contact in New Zealand 

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Print distortions range from mild to severe. They can interfere with the ability to learn to read, with reading fluency, and also to read for long periods of time. 

 Irlen effect1

Watch this video for examples of print distortions


green appleThe environment may also contribute to the difficulty people with Irlen have when reading:

The level and type of light can make symptoms worse (harsh fluorescent lighting in schools is the worst).  Although they can read in this environment it takes a lot of energy, meaning that they have very little left for comprehension and understanding of meaning. 

Bright white paper and whiteboards also increase the difficulty for Irlens students.  Off-white or coloured paper and an easy to read font makes life easier for those with Irlen Syndrome.


 green appleWhat can families and teachers do?

Teachers and caregivers are in the best position to identify children who are struggling with reading. One of the causes could be Irlen Syndrome, and if they are not identified then they can suffer from low self-esteem, self-confidence and a gradual belief that they are stupid or dumb. So what can teachers do?

Click here for a condensed Teacher resource

The Irlen Syndrome Foundation have information about Irlen Syndrome and also resources to help both parents and educators.

Click the links below to access these:

     Educators                                                     Parents

school button                                           famiy button

green apple Specially selected coloured filters can reduce the amount of visual disturbance, and improve concentration and fluency in reading.


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Watch this video to see what a difference Irlen filters make!

green appleBrain scans show the difference that coloured filters can make

 They reduce the excess stimulation of the brain that can cause visual disturbance, tiredness, and eye strain.

 green appleContact a screener or diagnostician near you to organise an Irlen Screening assessment.