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Something interesting about light sensativity

This Irlen's Syndrome is quite interesting.  It explains how, in my case, I am always extremely photosensative, have issues with glare, visual distortions when reading and such.  And why I like to read in dim lighting and in fact read better and concentrate better in dim, indirect, lighting.  In fact I answered yes to almost every question on that check list including my issues with depth perception and driving.  But I never had comprehension problems, reading problems or academic problems.  I simply read very fast and don't mind the halo'd aspect to it as long as the lighting is dim.  Plus, I used to have an excellent memory for anything I read, but as the migraines became chronic that went out the window and I had to find careful ways to focus while reading in order to retain everything.  When I was in university I used to highlight as I read so that my eyes would not skip lines or skim over things.  I like how it also explains my extremely messy writing, inconsistent spelling, difficulties proof reading and how my writing slants upward.  However, whether I or some of us FMS/migraine sufferers have this problem, or I believe symptoms with potentially the same solution, or not what is fascinating is the treatment.  As I have mentioned in the past there was research done on rose colored lenses and red contacts that shows evidence that helps filter out blue light help with light sensitivity and can help therefore with migraines.  And the ones I have do help with the strain on my eyes at work, with the hazy halos, with the warbling of words as my eyes get strained and with the painful-cant-even-see in the sunlight.  I think I would benefit from a darker tint myself.  And this syndrome is all about finding the tint overlay that would make a person be able to focus better without the strain.

Irlen's Syndrome, was initially called Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome. It was first identified by an Educational Psychologist named Helen Irlen in the 1980's. She wrote a book called: Reading by the Colors (Avery Press, 1991), to support individuals with Irlen Syndrome. The exact cause of Irlen remains unknown. However, it is believed to originate in the retina of the eye or in the visual cortex of the brain. Individuals with Irlen Syndrome seem to see words that are blurry, have patterns or appear to move on the page. As the individual continues to read, the problem seems to worsen. Colored overlays and filters are used to help individuals with Irlen Syndrome because they sometimes appear to reduce the perceptual distortions and visual stress experienced by 'some' children during reading. Research in this area, however, is quite limited.

Symptoms of Irlen's Syndrome

•Trouble reading words
Headache while reading
•Weaker academic performance
•Weak concentration
•Complains of eye strain while reading
•Tires while reading
•Depth perception is much weaker
•Will also affect math performance
•Often exhibits sensitivity to lights especially fluorescent types
•Trouble focusing
•Weak/poor comprehension
•Difficulty tracking words on a line and will often skip words
•Reads in a strained word by word fashion and with great hesitancy
•Avoids reading
•Weaker written work
•Trouble copying
•Random spacing
•Ramdomletter sizes
•Writing up or downhill
•Inconsistent spelling

•Research at the University of Birmingham in England showed that many migraine sufferers are sensitive to the flickering from fluorescent lighting, TV screens, and computer monitors. The study found that wearing colored glasses reduced the frequency of migraine headaches by 74 percent. Other research indicates that about one in five individuals could get relief with colored glasses. A preliminary study conducted at the UT Houston Medical School with 30 migraine sufferers found that 27 of them were helped dramatically by colored contacts.

•Evidence that symptoms of headaches and other symptoms of strain can be reduced by the wearing of Irlen Spectral Filters which alter the wave lengths of lighting comes from a variety of studies (Bulmer, 1994; Chronicle & Wilkins, 1991; McLachlan, Yale & Wilkins, 1993; Cilkins & Clark, 1990; Wilkins, Nimmo-Smith, Slater & Bedocs, 1989; Wilkins & Wilkinson, 1991).

•There are numerous surveys of subjects who have used colored filters for periods of six months to six years. Reduction in eye strain was reported by 78% to 86% of subjects in studies by Burgess (1990), Westergard (1993), Whiting and Robinson (1988), and Whiting, Robinson and Parrot (1994). Stokes and Stokes (1990) found 45% of subjects reported reductions in headaches, while Fricker (1989) and Schaffer (1994) also reported a reduction in headaches when using Irlen Spectral Filters.

•A preliminary study by D.W. Riley and A. Wright (October 2000) comprised 30 people ranging in age from 10 to 60+. The diagnosis of migraine was by doctor or specialist for 21 of the subjects, with the remaining 9 being self-diagnosed. All the subjects had been assessed for Irlen Syndrome and had been wearing Irlen Spectral Filters for 6 months to 5 years. For 83% of people in the study, Irlen Filters reduced the frequency and severity of their migraines.

I don't believe I have this syndrome or another freaking syndrome... but what if having chronic migraines with persistent migraine aura, giving you similar Effects could be be reduced with color filters? It intrigues me. 

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