Fluorescent Light and Irlen Syndrome

Light Filters That Help Irlen Syndrome at the Source.

Irlen Syndrome is sometimes an invisible condition. It is more common than asthma and heart disease, yet often overlooked. In fact, it’s hardly discussed whether at home, school, or even in the workplace.

black american woman having difficulty in reading due to Irlen Syndrome

But for people with Irlen, the daily symptoms are a reminder that life is not as normal as it should be. Couple that with a too bright environment, and life becomes almost intolerable.

What You Can Do

Light Filters for Irlen

Remove glare from office lighting.

Turn the light more natural by enhancing the color spectrum

Fluorescent Light Covers

What Is Irlen Syndrome?

Irlen syndrome was first discovered more than three decades ago by American Psychologist and educator Helen Irlen. It is also referred to as Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome or visual stress. When an individual has Irlen, their brain struggles to make sense of the visual elements it receives.

This perceptual difficulty causes various symptoms such as headaches, anxiety, fatigue, eye strain, and problems with perceiving depth. Perhaps the most common symptom of people suffering from it is their struggle with reading. They see the words on paper as distorted, moving, or collecting in a pile.

The Irlen Institute estimates that Irlen Syndrome affects 12-14 percent of the general adult population.

Certain environments with fluorescent lighting and bright lights aggravate the severity of its symptoms. Although, people with Irlen will react differently in different environments. Likewise, glare and extremely high contrast environments can also cause more symptoms in people with this syndrome.


What Causes Irlen Syndrome?

In most scenarios, Irlen Syndrome is an inherited disorder that runs in the family. Research has also shown that the syndrome is more prevalent in people with previous brain injuries and head traumas.

Although not clearly understood, the Irlen Institute attributes it to a defect in one of the visual pathways that carry visual messages to the brain. Basically, Irlen occurs because some people have an issue with perceiving some specific light wavelengths.

Ongoing research2 in the fMRI facility at Cornell University shows that people with Irlen have an overactive brain. The research suggests that their brains work extra hard to interpret the visual information, which causes the various symptoms.

Common Misconceptions of Irlen Syndrome

1. It only affects reading

While difficulty reading is one of the significant effects of this particular syndrome, it’s not the only symptom. Irlen syndrome affects other parts of an individual’s life, such as their ability to listen, compute calculations, and even their behavior. It can affect focus level and how long an individual takes to do a task, such as tasks requiring excellent vision clarity.

Furthermore, it also influences the emotions of an individual, especially in school-aged children. It can cause fatigue, nausea, headaches fatigue, and lack of clear vision. For some people, Irlen can result in deliberating symptoms that deeply affect someone’s life.

2. It’s an eye issue

Again this is a misconception. Irlen Syndrome signifies an issue with the brain and not the eyes, even if individuals can still have an eye problem and Irlen simultaneously. In most cases, the eyes are the channels through which symptoms manifest.

How to Know if you have Irlen Syndrome

woman rubbing eyes due to sensitivity to sunlight

It can be hard to diagnose as it overlaps with other visual problems and reading disorders such as Dyslexia. However, there are specific symptoms that are common to people with Irlen. Here are the signs to look out for:

  • Sensitivity to sunlight and fluorescent lights
  • Difficulty reading, especially for text with small fonts and lots of lines
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Eye pain and itches
  • Watery eyes and dryness
  • Difficulty staying on the line when writing
  • Difficulty with depth perception

If you have any of these symptoms, you might need to visit an ophthalmologist first to rule out other visual conditions and illnesses. After that, you can see an accredited Irlen diagnostician to screen for the syndrome.

The diagnostician will first perform a test to determine the severity of the syndrome, the symptoms, and its effects on your life. Once they establish all the above, the diagnostician issues an overlay to help with the symptoms where reading is a concern. If the overlay proves successful, a person comes for a second test to determine the tint color that offers them the most symptoms relief.

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Is Irlen Syndrome Real?

There are two camps when it comes to research on Irlen Syndrome. Researchers3 from New Zealand and Australia say the condition does not have sufficient research to understand how it manifests and the symptoms it brings about. Other studies such as this4 published in the Korean Journal of Ophthalmology found that people with Irlen had symptoms such as headaches, blurriness, and reading difficulty. Another case report5 featuring a dyslexic girl with symptoms similar to Irlen Syndrome found that the girl enjoyed symptomatic relief after wearing the recommended tinted glasses. However, for most people, it is real and one they have to deal with every day because of misdiagnosis and lack of other vision problems or conditions. Dr. Robert sums it up in this quote.
“During a 15-month period, I evaluated 460 patients, including both adults and children. Using questions that would uncover problems related to light sensitivity and reading difficulties, I found 122 patients. Many were treated with (Irlen) tinted lenses and were enthusiastic about their improvement. For these patients, Irlen Syndrome is an authentic diagnosis. Robert Dobrin, M.D., F.A.A.

Irlen Light Filters


Office lighting fluorescent tube covers are versatile, durable solution for standard 4′ fluorescent lamps. 

Office lighting fluorescent light covers are designed to cover fixtures that are flush to the ceiling. Works with LEDs too.

"The filters made a significant difference in the amount of glare, and the staff are happy to no longer experience eye strain and fatigue. Very grateful! Thank you."
Andrea D.
Burnaby, BC, Canada

What Is The Difference Between Dyslexia And Irlen Syndrome?

Dyslexia and Irlen Syndrome are two conditions often thought to be the same by most people, although they are different conditions with sometimes overlapping symptoms. Dyslexia is a phonological condition where people have a problem manipulating language.

People with Dyslexia have a problem with reading because their brains cannot make a connection between the words on the page, while people with Irlen have an issue with reading because of how they perceive light, making words on a page look distorted.

In cases of Dyslexia, patients can relieve their symptoms through phonic instruction. On the other hand, people with Irlen Syndrome require tinted glasses to alleviate their symptoms.

Is Irlen Syndrome A Form Of Dyslexia?

Irlen Syndrome is not a form of Dyslexia. A person can have both Irlen and Dyslexia, and each can occur as a standalone condition. Having Dyslexia does not always mean a person has Irlen Syndrome or vice versa.

That said, Irlen Syndrome affects up to 30% of people who have Dyslexia, ADHD, and Autism. It’s also common for people with Irlen to be misdiagnosed with ADHD or Dyslexia, while the real issue is the Irlen Syndrome.

Irlen Syndrome Fluorescent Lights Sensitivity

Fluorescent lighting is none better for people with Irlen Syndrome. Just like with LED lights, fluorescent lighting causes increased intolerance to light, fatigue, and discomfort. This dizziness may result from the high flicker rate of fluorescent bulbs.
Primarily, there are two methods to relieve the symptoms of Irlen:

The Irlen Method

Developed by Dr. Helen Irlen in early 1980, this method involves using colored (tinted) lenses and overlays to relieve symptoms such as sensitivity and reading difficulty in people with the syndrome. The colored lenses filter out bothersome wavelengths to eliminate distortion and extreme brightness. Consequently, using these lenses reduces stress and overactivity in the brain.

Certified Irlen screeners only issue the tinted glasses once they determine if the Irlen method is the best treatment. It’s also best to note that the tinted glasses do not treat Irlen per se. What they do is that they offer relief and a better visual experience.

Use Light Filters for Your Indoors

Human beings spend an average of 90% of their time indoors, whether at home, in the office, or at school. It’s no different for people with Irlen Syndrome. Since they are mostly exposed to artificial light, a good light filter will make all the difference in relieving the symptoms.

Light covers filter out the offending light wavelengths, which create discomfort, reducing overactivity in the brain and photosensitivity.


Naturalux Light Filters for People with Irlen Syndrome


With fluorescent light filters, you’ll remove glare. This means less headaches, eyestrain and fatigue.

full spectrum light at work

Like natural sunlight, our filters can help improve mood, focus and even help with you sleep better at night.

Full spectrum lighting for classrooms

Block harmful UV rays that can damage your body and fade materials.

How Naturalux works for Irlen Syndrome

NaturaLUX Light filters are highly-rated light covers that can prove beneficial for people with Irlen. They work by filtering out 100% of UVB rays and 99% of UVA rays, which have been linked to causing photosensitivity and fatigue.

With NaturalLux light filters, you can live in a well-light room free of glare and consequently free of headaches, discomfort, and dizziness. If you have Irlen, check out Naturallux filters for indoor lighting that don’t hurt your eyes or make it difficult to read.


  1. Tosta, Sandra. “Irlen and Traumatic Brain Injury.” Irlen Institute, https://irlen.com/traumatic-head-injuries/#.
  2. “Cornell University Case Studies Reveal Calm Brains With Irlen Spectral Filters.” Efficient Brainhttps://efficientbrain.com/irlen-research/.
  3. “No scientific evidence that Irlen Syndrome exists, say, ophthalmologists.” RANZCO, https://ranzco.edu/news/no-scientific-evidence-that-irlen-syndrome-exists-say-ophthalmologists/.
  4. “Chang, Minwook et al. “Specific visual symptoms and signs of Meares-Irlen syndrome in Korean.” Korean journal of ophthalmology: KJO vol. 28,2 (2014): 159-63. doi:10.3341/kjo.2014.28.2.159
  5. “Kusano, Yusuke, et al. No to hattatsu Brain and development” vol. 47,6 (2015): 445-8.
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