Using functional brain imaging for an improved understanding of Irlen Syndrome

You must see the new Disney dvd “Like Stars on Earth,” the story of a previously undiagnosed dyslexic 8-year-old in India

This movie has done much to educate families, especially in India, about the difficulties experienced by dyslexic children. It is the most heartwarming film I have been priviledged to enjoy, no doubt, in part, due to the difficulty I had as a child. In this story a chronic daydreamer, Ishaan (played by Darsheel Safary) is sent by his parents to a boarding school with the hope he will learn discipline. Ishhaan’s chronic misery abates when an unconventional new art teacher, Ram Shankar Nikumbh (Aamir Khan) decides to help his imaginative young student discover his true identity in this charming drama. The movie is available for purchase though Disney Home Entertainment. I got it via Netflix. Read about it at


Why tinted lenses from optometrists cannot equal Irlen Spectral Filters

Clients sometimes go to optometrists to get a tint which they think is
helpful; but, as this email expresses so well, Irlen Spectral Filters are so
better. I really like this letter and will use it when explaining why it is
worthwhile to get Irlen Filters over other methods and self-tinting.

My Trip to Dr. Carol Kessler to get my Irlen Filters

A few weeks after my presentation, I went to see Dr. Carol Kessler in
Kingston, New York, to get my first real pair of Irlen Filters. I’ve been
wearing a pair of violet glasses my mom had made for me at an optical store
three years ago. We were living in the United Arab Emirates at the time.
She had found about Irlen Syndrome and had me choose the best color
from MS Word. They made everything a lot better, but I knew now that with
the perfect color combination I should be able to see a whole lot better and
so many of my other Irlen Syndrome-related problems should get better. Dr.
Kessler was really nice and carefully went through all the color
combinations and densities that worked best for me. I got purple, blue and
rose filters. I was amazed at how much better I could see! My original
pair of colored glasses were only purple (violet). She had me look at the
window, and I was startled. Everything was practically jumping out at me in
a 3-D I had never even imagined existed. My whole world stopped swirling
and jumping and fogging. I no longer saw spots or flashes. Reading is now
enjoyable, math is so much easier, I don’t get lost so easily, I’m able to
learn to drive, I can
suddenly see musical notes so I’m going to start to learn to read music, I
can see balls moving now instead of the usual fuzz – so I can play baseball,
soccer and basketball better, I can follow group conversations, my
headaches are gone. It’s a wonderful world! Thank you Helen Irlen and Dr..

Link to preliminary PDF of “Reading Through Colour”

Go to to read the pre-publication PDF of Arnold Wilkins book “Reading Through Colour: How Coloured Filters Can Reduce Reading Difficulty, Eye Strain, and Headaches.” Dr. Wilkins gives interesting scientific information regarding Irlen Syndrome. Note: there are 132 pages. You may wish to read this on your computer.

This is the link to the publisher of the book.

Use the following link to go to the University of Essex website to view Dr. Wilkins’ Irlen information:

Note that there are references to a different testing system used by some centers in England. To find diagnosticians worldwide consult

I have suggested other Irlen sites, but now there is a most wonderful video by an adolescent.

My highest praise goes to the following site presenting a video by David Accola. Go to It is a teen’s summary:  What Irlen is and where to find help.

Follow this link to Dr. Daniel Amen’s website for fascinating facts about the brain a neuropsychiatrist for 20years Dr. Daniel Amen’s clinics have amassed the world’s largest database of brain scans related to behavior, more than 21,000. He states that “One of the factors that drew me to SSS (Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome aka Irlen Syndrome) is its simplicity and effectiveness.

Explanation of Irlen Syndrome by Rhonda Stone, Author of The Light Barrier

Irlen Syndrome, Meares-Irlen Syndrome, or Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome is a very specific problem associated with the photoreceptors of the eye and how wavelengths are absorbed and processed by multiple systems of the brain. There are different manifestations of this complex problem. An individual may experience just a couple or all of the symptoms: eye-strain, fatigue, headaches (including migraine), nausea, motion sickness, confusion or lack of clarity in thinking, the perception that text is moving (rising, falling, shaking, swirling, disappearing, etc.) and even problems with depth perception. Individuals with this problem may love to read but struggle to read for long periods of time; resist reading altogether because the physical issues make it a struggle; or simply appear disinterested in reading because they “don’t like it” (but they don’t know why –most adults with Irlen Syndrome live all their lives with it and, therefor, don’t know that issues they experience aren’t normal). One of the most serious manifestations is epileptic seizure (now widely understood to be caused by strobing, but less understood to be caused by what researcher Arnold Wilkins, Ph.D. University of Essex, calls “visual stress” and “pattern glare.” Reading involves patterns of text and is a visually stressful task.)

Dyslexia is commonly thought of as a learning issue. The neurobiological issues associated with it are little understood. Irlen Syndrome is a neurobiological issue that affects a variety of brain systems (beginning with the photoreceptors) and a handful of researchers are doing excellent work to define and document it. It is a neurobiological problem that can affect both health and learning, just health, or just learning.

Think of the human visual system as beginning with a “solar power plant.” The “photorecptors” capture the energy (literally, the individual wavelengths), a biochemical reaction occurs, signals are sent as a result of this biochemical reaction through the visual pathways to the deeper structures of the brain. What the photoreceptors have captured is pure ENERGY. The human skin also has photoreceptive qualities. Do you know people who burn easily? Tan easily? Some react better to ultraviolet (UV) radiation than others, right?

Well, Irlen Syndrome exists because some people have photoreceptive “solar power plants” that react inappropriately to UV radiation and a myriad of other aspects of light (short wavelengths, medium wavelengths, long wavelengths, volume of lights as expressed through dark and bright, and pattern and contrast modulation). The resulting effect is physical stress on the eyes and/or brain AND/OR unstable visual perception. For many of these people, fluorescent lighting and computer screens are particularly problematic because both are in a constant state of flicker (except LCD screens), which adds to the visual stress.

Irlen Syndrome is a very specific condition that manifests in different ways. Tinted lenses reduce the symptoms by modifying the wavelengths (or ENERGY) absorbed by the photoreceptors. The modification improves how the physical system receives and processes the light. This is totally logical to physicists and a few people studying both photosensitivity and the neurobiology of the brain. Sadly many ophthalmologists and optometrists have never studied the physics of light, let alone photosensitivity and neurobiology.

I am pleased to see that the first International Symposium on Visually-Induced Motion Sickneess, Fatigue, and Epileptic Seizure (VIMS) is being held in Hong Kong this December (2007). Because thousands of children were stricken by epileptic seizures during and immediately after a popular Pokemon movie in theaters following a short strobing segment a number of years ago, the scientific community finally became interested in this important new area of brain science. A brand new American movie may produce a smaller effect, if the scientific community pays attention. The movie is American Gangster, and it too includes a short strobing segment.I welcome further discussions on this topic. Taken from a discussion at November 4, 2007

Note: Scroll down to see previous article which is what she was responding to.

Invisible Reading Problem, Easy Solution

Arizona newspaper article by Paula Abromovitz, Irlen diagnostician

Books For Children Introduce Them to Irlen Syndrome Symptoms and Irlen Filters

A 24 page book is “Bratty-Cat, Blinky-Roo, and Snooze-Bear” by Susan R. Smith. It is not available from Amazon; it is available from second book is “Jamie Lee and the Magic Glasses” by Jay Luthy. I recommend this book highly. It is excellent for sharing in front of a classroom or a child can be allowed to read it to learn about Irlen Syndrome. It is printed in a large format with big print and is very colorful.

My expectation that Walt Disney was dyslexic was correct

disney.JPGI saw a Disney print last week that I really like. It shows Mickey Mouse doing a self portrait, but the character on the portrait is Walt Disney, his creator. The question becomes who is who’s alter ego. Walt was quoted as saying “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.”

I heard some time ago that Disney theme park buildings were specially constructed to convey perspective or height. Disney imagineers created an illusion by utilizing forced perspective.

As you enter Main Street USA from the railroad tunnels, the buildings on each side of the street are not full scale. They actually get smaller as they rise. First floors are approximately 12 feet high, the 2nd floors are about 10 feet high and 3rd floors are about 8 feet high. In fact 1st floors are at 3/4 scale. Second floors are at 5/8 scale, and 3rd floors are at 1/2 scale. Imagineers designed the buildings this way so they would fit the scale of the park. So the apparent height of the buildings is an illusion engineered through the set-designers’ forced perspective. This creates the impression of tallness in buildings of modest, domestic height. This toytown scale – impossible in the real world- gives adults the same feeling of mastery and control that children feel when playing with dollhouses or miniature villages or a model-train layout.

At first I wondered if Walt Disney failed to see with proper perspective, but in the final analysis it seems this was a common design illusion of the day. I suggest clicking on forced perspective to read about this illusion method’s use in move production.