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Tinted glasses for Irlen's syndrome (how much difference do they make?)

(83 Posts)
teamcullen Wed 22-Jul-09 07:38:57

My 7 year old was diagnosed with Irlen's syndrome earlier this year, and was reccomended to use a turquoise overlay to help with his reading. However, I was wondering whether to get him further tested to see if he needs the tinted glasses.

He seems to really have to concentrate when doing his work, so dosent produce much although his teacher says the content is good. However this leaves him exhausted. He is also quite clumsy, forever tripping up and knocking things over.

Looking at the Irlen's web site, there are lots of indications that Irlen's effects my son in every day life which, before I hadnt connected to Irlen's.

So, has anybody used the tinted glasses themselves or for their children? Do they make much difference? Most importantly, do they make life easier?

lillybloom Sat 02-Oct-10 10:58:22

I second Ian Jordan. I have been going there for years. It has really made a difference to the dc's.

choccyp1g Fri 15-Oct-10 20:47:28

I tried out the overlays at school where I help with reading. Out of the 12 I read with, 4 children found them extremely helpful, several of the others found them useful as a ruler to help keep their place, and on or two others just found it made reading more fun.
It stand to reason, if the overlays help wiht reading, then the glasses or lenses would be useful for writing tasks.
Obviously they are not an instant cure for all reading difficulties, but given how little they cost, (like £1 per child!!!) how easy they are to use, I cannot believe why all schools don't have a pack for ALL children to try.
<< roduct_info&cPath=1_17&products_id=443>>

choccyp1g Fri 15-Oct-10 20:50:49

Sorry, didn't preview and have now got the link right fo&cPath=1_17&products_id=443

choccyp1g Fri 15-Oct-10 20:54:17

Incidentally, I have always been a prolific reader, but I can see for myself that some colours make the text sharper.

choccyp1g Fri 15-Oct-10 21:01:15

Should explain, I was reading with the children who were "behind" in reading, so should not imply that 4 out of 12 children would benefit from the overlays.

chobbler Sat 16-Oct-10 19:35:44

can i just ask as a novice to this- DD has been complaining that the interactive white board fizzes when she tries to read it when there is no background colour could we have a problem? she has one eye long sighted and the other short which doesn't help. but would getting a tint over the top help her read the white board- the teacher insists there is no problem. DD comes home crying.

choccyp1g Sun 17-Oct-10 21:32:36

Does she use different glasses for reading and for long distance? Could she need to keep swapping them in the lesson? It might be worth getting the rulers, and seeing if they make a difference with normal reading; if she can see a marked inprovement, then consider coloured lenses for the glasses.

choccyp1g Sun 17-Oct-10 21:33:03

improvement of course.

bramblebooks Sun 17-Oct-10 21:51:57

My son wears harris lenses and they have taken him from being able to read a book over a YEAR due to the distortion to being able to read one a fortnight. Many children in my school benefit from the overlays and some have found great benefits in wearing the specs.

However, I'm concerned that you need more support on other issues as the clumsiness may not be a visual problem but linked to gross and fine motor skills (how's his handwriting?). Have you had any concerns about dyspraxia?

It may be worth investigating a full visual assessment via the opticians/ optometrist to assess 3d vision, etc, and to discuss whether your child needs an occupational therapist's assessment with your gp/ school paediatrician. The occupational therapist would assess fine/gross motor skills.

A starting point if you wished to pursue this would be the school's senco for the referral to the school's paediatrician.

kip55 Tue 26-Oct-10 23:54:10

Just spotted this conversation. As most schools are using computers for some if not all of the lessons, three options which may be helpful for computer use.

T-Bar - a ruler to drag over the text with variable colour and transparency settings and the option to place reading lines on the ruler.

ssOverlay - similar to T-Bar but places a coloured overlay across the whole screen.

Vu-Bar - slotted ruler to prevent wandering and mixing up text from other lines.

Best new though is that these are all free

look on the Assistive software page

Willmum Fri 29-Oct-10 16:25:37

My brother has this and has tinted glassess. They made an ENORMOUS difference to him. Most noticably the day he first had them fitted he asked where the toilet was and was directed down the corridor. We watched him walk down the corridor and around the corner without putting his hand out to the wall to check where he was. (He was 20 by the way). It was quite honestly the first time either of us had seen him walk in an unfamiliar place without putting his hands out to the walls to steady himeself (hes dsypraxic also). It definiatly made a difference to his reading but his general movements became easier as he could judge depth more easily, so yes it really does affects all aspects not just reading.

ruthineastbourne Fri 28-Jan-11 00:34:42

PLEASE can you give me some page numbers for your Rose review quotes....

we're taking county to tribunal over their view tinted glasses are not an educational need and evidence needs to be posted tomorrow!

I'm trawling 2006 and 2009 and really can't see it....



Timebends Fri 28-Jan-11 18:56:54

There are some disagreements between ophthalmologists who are not yet prepared to accept that the diagnoses and treatment offered by behavioural optometrists are scientifically proven. the argument, like many between professional bodies, is partly political and territorial and more involved than may easily or usefully be discussed here.

Suffice to say, after an ed psych's report and recommendation, a highly recommended behavioural optometrist was able to describe to me my child's problems and their symptoms due to a focusing issue he found which could not be picked up by her yearly eye test. the relief of having someone understand and explain her problems(relatively minor but leading to underachieving at school with all the distress that even quite small difficulties cause at school and at home))was enormous and the positive effects of the prism lenses and exercises, startling.

I have contacted a number of well known schools with regard to possible entry and discussed her background and treatment. A number already seem to have positive experience of this particular practitioner, his treatment and its benefits for some of their pupils.

I understand Irlen lenses tend to help the symptoms of some of these visual disorders but might not diagnose the cause (I might be corrected about this)- you might be best to go for a full behavioural optometrist's examination (ours was 3 and a half hours inc vision therapy) However I think the possible benefits are huge.

maggy9 Wed 19-Dec-12 17:37:42

hi fava
who is Ian Jordan and where abouts in scotland is he, how did you go about getting it done through nhs i've been told i couldnt do this any help appriciated

chocaholic73 Wed 19-Dec-12 21:13:13

He is in Ayr If you ring he will explain everything to you. NHS works differently in Scotland.

MariscallRoad Fri 04-Jan-13 21:07:02

My DS was recently diagnosed with Irlen on top of other SLDs incl dyslexia. However, as he is in the top ability it is to a certain degree mitigated. nevertheless he will be seen by a specialist colourimetrist at the Institute of Optometrists in London. He had tried overlays and felt better. MIS is something new.

MariscallRoad Fri 04-Jan-13 21:07:58

Seeing is believeing

MariscallRoad Tue 08-Jan-13 14:43:30


didldidi Wed 30-Jan-13 19:50:54

Its also available in colches ter Essex on the nhs

purplebabyhippo Mon 18-Mar-13 19:49:52

My daughter is 15 & recently diagnosed with Irlen after suffering from migraines & complaining that words sometimes appeared muddled up. We initially went to our GP who put her on anti-depressants to stop the migraines & she had a eye test on the opticians - neither of these mentioned Irlen. It was a friend of mine who works in learning support that arranged for my daughter to have the test. She tried the overlay & although she said it helped, it just isn't practical for looking at the white board, computer work & books with small pages.
I was concerned about the cost of tinted glasses & how much difference they would make but we didn't want any more migraines & I wanted to give my daughter the best possible chance in her GCSES.
We went for the tint test last week- it took a while for the tester to find the correct tints (a process of elimination rather than anything scientific) but then she got my daughter to read a passage from a book that she had never seen before without the tints & she stumbled on a couple of words but it was ok considering she was having to read aloud. Then she got her to read a different passage with the tints & I was shocked - she read much more confidently & with more rhythm; as if she had practiced before although she hadn't! It actually brought a tear to my eye & I am pretty cynical about these things!
We are now waiting for the lenses & I am hoping they will really help her although I know she is a little worried about what other kids will say as they will look like sunglasses smile

alimac87 Tue 19-Mar-13 15:46:35

There is a good evidence base for this although there is also some dodgy practice around. My DD has tinted specs, also saw local NHS department to correct her focusing issues. We saw Prof Bruce Evans in Essex, all very evidence-based. There are also opticians who do colourimetry testing. I was quite a sceptic myself in the early days but yes it helps. She's still dyslexic but it controls the visual disturbance side.

Rivermeidc Fri 20-Sep-13 16:50:03

I am 42 years old. I am dyslexic and have Irlen's syndrome. I will tell you they are two different things! It is very hard for me to explain what I see without the colored overlays. I guess the best I can describe it is that things always seem to be pulsating or in and out of blotchiness. Words and sentences are not stationary. I feel the eye strain in bright lights and it is worse under the florescent lights of my office. The colored overlays are like night and day; they correct the issues and allow for reading that has no hesitation, brokenness or pausing. They do not correct my dyslexic problem, but do allow me to focus more on catching the dyslexic mistake before it goes verbal. I am looking at getting glasses ASAP!

In school I would take an “F” on a verbal book report or a speech rather than get up and have the entire class laughing at me. I encourage any parent’s that have children with the same symptoms to get their children checked for both; life could have been so much easier. Please don’t listen to foolish people that try tell you not to get tested for both; they have tried to tell be too that I don’t know what I’m seeing with my own eye’s. All of the dyslexic testing and treatment gave me good information to deal with the dyslexic problems, but did nothing to help my Irlen's syndrome. Again, knowing that I have Irlen's syndrome corrected the visual issues I was having and has helped me to focus more on my dyslexic issue.

MariscallRoad Sun 22-Sep-13 10:25:24

I feel the thread needs reanimation because Irlen condition has recently become more recognised and there is a need for raising awareness.

Thanks Muffy. My son was diagnosed only a few months ago thanks to student disability services at his uni . The student services screened him and found he is at risk of dyslexia and Irlen and so they refered him to a educational psychologist who was paid by the the university. The Ed Ps has diagnosed dyslexia and Irlen . Further he was refereed to specialist colourimetrist who prescribed both coloured overlays of specific colour and tinted lenses, the cost of which was paid by the DSA. The overlays helped only to a certain extend and tinted glasses helped much more by increasing the speed of reading and relieving the stress of the eyes. Optometrists do not know the condition because it is has to do with the nerves; but eye consultants and hospitals and NHS are now becoming aware. My DS had an appointment at the eye hospital where the consultant discussed this.

Those with dyslexia are more likely to have Irlen and a significant minority has this. It is expensive to do the test and to make the tinted glasses. My son’s life was very difficult when he was undiagnosed he had headaches and bluring of the page, it had affected his study but now the diagnosis and tinted lenses changed our lives to the better. We know how to deal with the difficulty.

I agree too that parents and students suffering from Irlen should lobby their MP. I did not know the Optician’s Act recognises only focal problems. The condition needs an Educationla Psychologist to write so in their report.

binger Sun 22-Sep-13 10:42:50

This is so interesting. I'm in the process of being referred via nhs at the moment. An optician mention irlen's to me about 6 years ago as I really struggle with reading with the text jumping all over the place. Nothing else was said though. A month ago I went for 2 yearly eye test and I was complaining to optician that I'm really struggling now even though my reading prescription is minuscule (1.25). She is referring me to a Glasgow hospital who will in turn refer me to (I think) Glasgow uni. If I self refer direct to uni I will have to pay as a private patient.

I've always struggled but managed to get by but I am really slowing down at work now and it's difficult for me to check back my work on the pc. Really hoping I get help.

LynetteScavo Sun 22-Sep-13 10:55:35

If the OP is still reading, my DS has coloured lenses, and is advised to use the overlay as well as combined his reading speed is even faster. The lenses are also bi-focals. (I'm not sure why blush)

In a normal eye test, DS has pretty much perfect vision.

Yes, the glasses make life easier. DS refused to even attempt to read a label on a box, for example if he isn't wearing tinted lenses.

He was tested by a behavioral optometrist who gave him an hour long assessment, and afterwards gave us lots of tips on how to improve tracking, etc. All in all, I don't think the assessment and glasses cost much more than £100. Money very well spent, IMO.

I'm happy to recommend the person who assessed DS, (and DD) if anyone PMs me.

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