Journal List > J Korean Ophthalmol Soc > v.53(3) > 1009317

Park, Kim, Cho, and Joo: The Effect of Colored Filters in Patients with Meares-Irlen Syndrome



To evaluate the benefit of colored filters in Meares-Irlen Syndrome patients with reading difficulties.


Twenty-five patients were selected through a brief questionnaire aimed to determine symptoms of eyestrain or visual distortion after thorough eye examinations. The cutoff value of the questionnaire was 2.13. The rates of Korean reading and writing were measured using the RWSM (Reading Writing Speed Meter) test with and without the use of colored filters. Two months after wearing the individually prescribed colored filters, a questionnaire on the patient's subjective satisfaction with the colored filters were completed and evaluated.


The blue (n = 8, 32%) and gray (n = 4, 16%) colors were the most frequently selected filters. The mean score of the questionnaire on reading difficulties was 2.72. The mean reading rate improved from 82.72 wpm (words per minute) to 101.84 wpm with the colored filters, a statistically significant change (p = 0.019). The mean writing rate did not improve. The overall satisfaction score with the colored lenses was 3.6, with the highest score given to ease of reading (4.08) and the lowest to writing (2.92).


In cases of reading difficulty, colored filters were effective for alleviating visual symptoms and improving reading speed. It is important to achieve an adequate understanding of the specific symptoms of Meares-Irlen Syndrome and to perform a thorough eye examination to differentiate this from other ocular disorders.

Figures and Tables

Figure 1
Distribution of the color lenses.
Figure 2
The mean change of reading rate and writing after wearing the coloured filters. The mean reading rate improved with the coloured filters from 82.72 wpm (words per minute) to 101.84 wpm, which was statistically significant (p = 0.019).
Figure 3
Differential plot showing the effect of coloured filters on rate of reading. The vertical axis shows the difference in rate of reading (words per minute, wpm) which was obtained by subtracting the rate of reading without the filter from that with the filter.
Figure 4
The subjective satisfaction questionnaire scores after wearing the coloured filter for 2 months. Score 0: not satisfied, Score 1: neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, Score 2: mildly satisfied, Score 3: moderately satisfied, Score 4: much satisfied, Score 5: very satisfied.
Figure 5
The distribution of satisfaction scores on reading and writing after wearing the coloured filters for 2 months. Score 0: not satisfied, Score 1: neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, Score 2: mildly satisfied, Score 3: moderately satisfied, Score 4: much satisfied, Score 5: very satisfied.


1. Nandakumar K, Leat SJ. Dyslexia: a review of two theories. Clin Exp Optom. 2008. 91:333–340.
2. Irlen H, Lass MJ. Improving reading problems due to symptoms of scotopic sensitivity syndrome using Irlen lenses and overlays. Education. 1989. 30:413–417.
3. Meares O. Figure/ground, brightness contrast, and reading disabilities. Visible language. 1980. 14:13–29.
4. Irlen H. Reading problems and Irlen coloured lenses. Dyslexia Rev. 1997. 8:4–7.
5. Kim SH, Cho YA. Clinical characteristics of patients with dyslexia in Korea : correlation with Meares-Irlen syndrome. J Korean Ophthalmol Soc. 2010. 51:1639–1642.
6. Demb JB, Boynton GM, Best M, Heeger DJ. Psychophysical evidence for a magnocellular pathway deficit in dyslexia. Vision Res. 1998. 38:1555–1559.
7. Livingstone MS, Rosen GD, Drislane FW, Galaburda AM. Physiological and anatomical evidence for a magnocellular defect in developmental dyslexia. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991. 88:7943–7947.
8. Helveston EM. Scotopic sensitivity syndrome. Arch Ophthalmol. 1990. 108:1232–1233.
9. Wilkins AJ, Baker A, Amin D, et al. Treatment of photosensitive epilepsy using coloured glasses. Seizure. 1999. 8:444–449.
10. Evans BJ. The need for optometric investigation in suspected Meares-Irlen syndrome or visual stress. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2005. 25:363–370.
11. Evans BJ, Joseph F. The effect of coloured filters on the rate of reading in an adult student population. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 2002. 22:535–545.
12. Cotton MM, Evans KM. A review of the use of Irlen (tinted) lenses. Aust N Z J Ophthalmol. 1990. 18:307–312.
13. Simmers AJ, Bex PJ, Smith FK, Wilkins AJ. Spatiotemporal visual function in tinted lens wearers. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2001. 42:879–884.
14. Wilkins AJ, Jeanes RJ, Pumfrey PD, Laskier M. Rate of Reading Test: its reliability, and its validity in the assessment of the effects of coloured overlays. Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 1996. 16:491–497.
Similar articles