While Irlen Syndrome is now the preferred term used to describe the disorder Helen Irlen identified and described over 30 years ago, the disorder is occasionally referred to by other names: Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, Meares-Irlen Syndrome, and most recently, Visual Stress. All of these terms are generally used to label the same set of symptoms, and colored filtering is recognized and documented to successfully alleviate the symptoms of the disorder no matter which of the related names it bears.
Over 30 years ago, Helen Irlen identified the symptoms of a disorder that would come to bear her namesake, Irlen Syndrome. In its early years, Irlen referred to the disorder as Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, based on the belief that the primary difficulties associated with the disorder occurred when the brain tried to process light within the scotopic range of the visible light spectrum. Many people misinterpreted the coined to mean scotopic vision or night vision, which confused professionals and discredited the method. As a result, researchers began calling the disorder Irlen Syndrome. Early research on the topic can still be found that uses the term Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, however. Some places in the literature also refer to the disorder as Meares-Irlen Syndrome, paying respect to Olive Meares, a teacher in New Zealand who identified similar symptoms as Helen Irlen during the same time period in the early 1980’s. Unlike Irlen, Meares did not move beyond symptom description to treatment protocols or developing methods of intervention.
In recent years, a new term has been introduced, Visual Stress (used primarily in the United Kingdom), in an attempt to simplify and generalize the name with the hopes to garner broader acceptance and understanding of the disorder. Academic research using the term Visual Stress also acknowledges the disorder’s other labels, Irlen Syndrome, Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, and Meares-Irlen Syndrome.
Backed by over 30 years of research, Irlen is the pioneer and global leader in the technology that has helped millions of adults and children around the world find relief from Irlen Syndrome. With over 170 Irlen Clinics in 46 countries around the world, Irlen is the original creator of colored lens treatment for perceptual processing difficulties. The Irlen Method has earned millions of fans by providing a long-term, expertly developed solution to reading problems, headaches, light sensitivity, ADD and ADHD, autism and many other ailments–by directly addressing a core problem: the brain’s inability to process visual information. While there are several names out there to label this condition, there is only one Irlen Method.