The low-down on Irlen lenses
We spoke to @Jennifer14Owen who has Irlen syndrome, to learn more about the condition and how wearing Irlen lenses had changed her life.
What is Irlen syndrome?
Irlen syndrome is a visual perceptual processing disorder that can affect people of any age. Irlen syndrome impacts around 12-15% of the UK population and this BBC article tells us symptoms include: distortion of words, brightness and glare, poor motivation and impacted reading and writing.
Due to Irlen syndrome not being picked up by standard medical assessments, the consensus is that the condition remains largely undiagnosed.
What can help treat Irlen syndrome?
The use of coloured paper and natural lighting can help people with the condition. While coloured overlays in glasses/filters/lenses known as ‘Irlen lenses’, are beneficial too. For more information on how to help children with Irlen syndrome at school, please visit this Irlen institute webpage.
Speaking to Jennifer
@Jennifer14Owen can be seen in a video on the BBC link above and it is her aim to increase awareness of Irlen syndrome across the UK.
We spoke to Jennifer about her diagnosis and the positive impact Irlen lenses had on her life:
How would you describe Irlen lenses and when did you first begin to wear them?
Irlen lenses are coloured glasses which are not sunglasses or a fashion statement, but young people called them magic glasses or superpower. I started to wear them back in 2014 because I was diagnosed with Irlen syndrome in 2012.
What difference have Irlen lenses made to your life and what are you most proud of since getting them?
They have made a fantastic difference to my life because I can do things that I could not do before having them. Being able read a book cover to cover and being an Irlen ambassador, finally being recognised by my hometown for my hard work in raising awareness of Irlen syndrome and doing an event in Welsh assembly and Parliament are things I am most proud of.
What would your advice be for people newly diagnosed with Irlen syndrome?
Every Irlen person has symptoms that are individual and therefore the diagnostician knows the best solution.
Having more comfortable and efficient reading is only one aspect of wearing Irlen filters. Many people will wear them all the time as they do not make the world dull and dark but colour the world.
Many thanks to Jennifer for sharing her story with us and a big well done on your achievements
Over to you:
- Had you heard of Irlen syndrome or lenses before today?
- Do you know anyone with the condition?
- Have you any messages of support for Jennifer?
Want to tell us about your experience on the online community? Talk to our chatbot and let us know.