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Irlens lenses

(8 Posts)
Schmedz Tue 13-Aug-13 22:19:55

Hi - I have also posted this in Special needs, but as it is relevant to Education I thought I would try here also.

Has anyone had any experience with using these lenses (either personally or know someone who has)? Do you think they are effective?

Optician recently recommended my DD was tested for Irlens syndrome so keen to know anything about testing procedure etc... That anyone could share.


PhoenixUprising Wed 14-Aug-13 10:29:18

The testing procedure my DD did was rubbish. All they did was try different coloured overlays and ask if they helped.

In the end they said the green one helped the most and we should try it.

It didn't help at all, because she didn't have irlens she had convergence insufficiency.

Schmedz Wed 14-Aug-13 11:36:58

Gosh Phoenix..could do that myself at home? Which testing centre did you use? I will avoid avoid avoid!

PhoenixUprising Wed 14-Aug-13 13:14:56

You can do that at home! You can buy a pack of different coloured overlays online for about £10 I think.

This isn't one centre. It's 3! (over several years) They all recommended different colours too.

2 in London and 1 in bucks. PM me if you want names.

Schmedz Wed 14-Aug-13 16:59:47

Hi. Would very much like to know which centres you used. Have heard other positive things by talking to other people so it seems you have had very bad luck that I don't wish to share!
Appreciate your comments and time.

Butternutnut Thu 15-Aug-13 16:28:47

Coloured overlay testing is often preliminary to full colorimetry examination using a complex piece of equipment (intuitive colorimeter), or with the Irlen system, as specialised set of lenses. If someone responds posistively to the overlay testing it is recommended to find a centre that uses full colorimetry equipment or Irlen testing.

Coloured overlay testing should include a measured rate of reading test (which only uses 3 letter words) which will show if the overlay helps. This is usually a test called Wilkins Rate of Reading and measures both speed and accuracy. There are probably other rate of reading tests in use too. If the child doesn't respond at all to an overlay they may not have visual stress syndrome or there is probably something else going on (eg convergence insufficiency as phoenix mentioned above but tbh that should have been picked up beforehand at a routine eye examination which all kids should have at least 2 yearly or if they have problems/symptoms).

Many children have uncorrected refractive errors (need glasses for comfortable reading) and muscle balance problems (e.g. convergence insufficiency again!) so do get an eye exam first if you have not done so already. Small refractive errors will not be picked up by basic school screening and some children are hugely sensitive to a little bit of long sight or astigmatism.

A lot of Optometrists/Opticians offer coloured overlay testing and a small number offer full colorimetry and very few (if any) offer Irlen testing. Some dyslexia centres offer one or t'other and I think there are special irlen testing Centres. Beware - dyslexia will not be cured by either types of lenses or overlays- but if the child has visual stress syndrome tinted lenses may alleviate that and so help manage that part of the issue and can thus help reading. But the lenses are expensive and for some people the benefit from the overlay is enough and they are dead cheap. there can be an adaptive effect and some children find a different overlay better after 6 months on re-testing although some seem to stick with the same one throughtout school.

Hope this helps and good luck!!

Schmedz Thu 15-Aug-13 17:42:13

She doesn't seem to have any drastic problems with reading text but is very light sensitive and struggles hugely with music notation, also complains about the lines on paper disappearing when she writes. Has just had an eye test where she was given a mild prescription as she is quite longsighted so hopefully that will help, but the optician definitely suggested there is more going on with the light/distortions. Have found an accredited Irlens testing centre so hopefully that will be the way forward.
Thanks, Butternut!

Adikia Thu 15-Aug-13 19:42:15

I have overlays and have tinted lenses on my glasses (I prefer the overlays as I hate wearing my glasses) they make a massive difference, the testing for the overlays was through school and was rubbish (although that was 10 years ago so may well be different now) I found buying a set of overlays and experimenting myself was a much better plan.

I didn't get tinted lenses until last year so cant tell you from a child's point of view but the optician realised that my overlays are the same colour as one of the fashion tints optical express do so it was only about £15 extra on the glasses, i'm a student and I have to say the glasses help more when i'm writing/making notes in books and if i'm reading in front of people as they are less noticeable but for general reading the overlays are more help.

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