27 April 2018

There’s no such thing as Irlen Syndrome, says RANZCO

Ophthalmology Paediatrics

There was no evidence that Irlen Syndrome existed and there was no proof that treatments, such as Irlen lenses, helped those with reading difficulties, the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) has said in a position statement.

Irlen Syndrome is commonly defined as a perceptual processing disorder, suggesting the brain is unable to properly process visual information from the eyes because of sensitivity to certain wavelengths of light.

Symptoms are said to include poor concentration; difficulties with reading, writing and comprehension; glare sensitivity; headaches and poor depth perception.

“The real concern with diagnoses of Irlen Syndrome is that it can distract from genuine diagnosis and treatment, such as a comprehensive evaluation by an educational psychologist followed by the appropriate remedial educational input,” RANZCO spokesperson Professor Frank Martin said.

“Any interventions that distract from and delay this evaluation could be detrimental to the effective treatment of any learning disabilities.”

RANZCO said there was no sound theoretical basis or evidence that Irlen Syndrome actually existed and a diagnosis of the condition was based solely on symptoms with no quantitative physiological correlation.

Treatments associated with Irlen Syndrome, such as coloured lenses, had not been proven to be any more effective in improving reading difficulties in children than in children assessed in a control group, RANZCO added.

While there was no evidence Irlen lenses were harmful, the use of unproven methods could waste time and resources and prevent a child from receiving the appropriate evidence-based educational remedies that could help with their learning development.

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2 Comments on "There’s no such thing as Irlen Syndrome, says RANZCO"

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Carol Watson
Carol Watson
1 month 25 days ago
As a mother of two children with Irlens and a teacher who has seen numerous cases where Irlens was a very real thing and coloured lenses helped children far more than anything else I find this stance is irresponsible and potentially financially driven. Have they spoken to real sufferers to find out just how lenses have helped? Have they seen the very real struggle these people have to do the simplest things? Have they spoken to kids labelled trouble and shoved on ritilin for something they didn’t have just because they acted up to avoid reading and writing so they… Read more »
Catherine McLennan
Catherine McLennan
7 months 2 days ago

If it doesn’t exist, why are many optometrists now saying they can tint lenses! Possibly a money making scheme. Open your minds, ask to sit in on an Irlen Assessment and see the differences people report. My son has Irlen Syndrome and since using the lenses he has gone rom strength to strength. Read the research on Irlen. There are hundreds of independent articles.