Facts About Irlen Syndrome

  • occurs on a continuum from mild to extremely severe
  • mild profile: normal or high achieving person who reads slowly or must reread more than usual for comprehension
  • moderate profile: person considered to be an under-achiever or “lazy”, does not work up to their potential, feels frustrated that effort put forth at school does not result in achievement
  • severe profile: person appears to have intractable problems learning to read, and/or severe learning problems
  • has a genetic basis - in 84% of students identified with Irlen syndrome, one or both parents also were identified with it (Robinson, Foreman, & Dear, 1996)
  • may be misidentified as ADD, ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia


  • may coexist with ADD, ADHD, Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia - making students with each of these challenges more difficult to educate
  • 15-25% of the general population has Irlen Syndrome (most are unaware)
  • 45-50% (some say 65%) of dyslexic population has Irlen Syndrome (Whiting 1985)
  • 50% of ADD, ADHD population have Irlen Syndrome (Irlen, 1993; Jordan, 1996; Payne, 1994)
  • 45-50% of population with just a reading disability has Irlen Syndrome as the main cause