No these are not sunglasses – life with Irlen Syndrome

For the longest time I would see halos around people who were in bright light when I was in darkness. I would struggle with my peripheral vision and even on cloudy days the light outside was just too bright. Glare from cars reflecting the sun and white pages with black text on hurt my head so badly that I had to pause when reading and ended up with seriously bad migraines.  I thought I saw the world the same way as others. Until about 3 years ago when my migraines began compounding at work. The fluorescent lights led me to the doctor because it was just hurting too much. That led me onto the eye clinic at the hospital. No one could explain why certain lights would set me into severe pain. I resigned myself to life behind sunglasses when outside of my flat, annoyed and confused and hurting that medicine seemed to be failing me when it’s helped with so many other issues that I face. But then, my sister suggested that I might have Irlen Syndrome.My nephew had recently been diagnosed and so I did some research. There were some symptoms that didn’t seem to fit when I researched, but a number of them that did. The more I read, the more I realised this could actually be what I was dealing with. I’d always attributed my clumsiness to just being me. Heck growing up, I was known for just how clumsy I could be… I could trip over my own shadow without a thought. But apparently that might be explained with Irlen as well. So after a lot of research, I decided to go for testing.

My first appointment, just the use of filters on a page helped. I mean seriously, changing the colour of the page, there was no instant eye strain, no need to look up and away from the page after a paragraph briefly, no excess blinking as I read.  My second appointment, testing the different filters… I couldn’t believe it when I saw the difference they made in the colours I saw, the way that the glare from the cars outside was no longer hurting. Things had changed and I was excited.

My tinted glasses (I got new prescription glasses and had the lenses tinted) arrived about 4 weeks after they were sent off. Three different greys that combined together have made a world of difference to me. I can concede that they do look like sunglasses and yes I do need to try and be a bit more patient when explaining the difference (see a conversation with a certain someone in the public eye who will remain nameless who seriously annoyed the frak out of me).  But these glasses are literally helping me see the world in a different perspective.

Work on the computer under fluorescent lights no longer hurts. My eyes aren’t straining any more at work and that means I’m not feeling the build up of migraines related to what I’m seeing (I still get some hormonal migraines but one trigger has been ticked off as resolved). I’m not bumping into things as much. I used to bump into things or trip over my own shadow at an average of once every 15 to 20 minutes when walking.  Now it’s more like once every week or so, if that.  I had adjusted to reading on my nook but still found I would tire after about an hour because I couldn’t focus after that time… now I can read for as long as I want until I decide I need a pit stop.

Bright colours are no longer distorted and too bright or washed out. I recently tested the tints whilst watching a DVD which I know has a lot of bright white backgrounds and people wearing patterned shirts that used to go fuzzy before the tints. I was able to watch it in complete comfort.

If you want to find more out about Irlen Syndrome, I’d suggest clicking on this link. But yes I can honestly say that I no longer wear sunglasses to deal with the light and my Irlen tints are perhaps the most beautiful things I have ever purchased. I am no longer a slave to the light. So my thanks go to my darling sister (who by the way has also recently been diagnosed) for suggesting that this might be the answer I have been looking for.

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One thought on “No these are not sunglasses – life with Irlen Syndrome

  1. Dace says:

    not enough that tinted glasses help your condition, they make you look cool. it is awesome that you managed to figure out what is wrong on your own and now you can live a better life

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