My daughter Tarra has had learning difficulties since Year 1 in reading, spelling and mathematics. She became a loner and started getting teased and bullied by other students at school.

I had her eyes tested and she was prescribed normal reading glasses. Towards the end of Year 1 there was a slight improvement in her reading but I was still concerned. So I took her back to the optometrist who then prescribed tinted lenses. She picked up slightly in her learning but as she got older she became very frustrated, angry and emotional and would lash out by kicking walls, hitting me, crying and she became withdrawn.

As her mother I became frustrated, worried and concerned for her and didn’t know what to do. I decided to continue in my search for an answer to help my daughter, as I knew in my heart this wasn’t the girl I once knew.

I took her to a naturopath who diagnosed her with certain allergies that were affecting her health. I also decided to have her tutored in reading. The tutor suggested she should have her visual perception tested by an Irlen Syndrome Screener.

As it turned out Tarra was diagnosed with Irlen Syndrome. This is where words move on a page and white pages appear bright and glary, slowing down a person’s ability to read, remember words, spell and comprehend what they are reading. It can cause fatigue, affects concentration, creates frustration for the learner and impedes self-esteem.

On being diagnosed with Irlen Syndrome Tarra was then referred to an Irlen Clinician who checked Tarra’s eyes and reading by using different coloured lenses. These coloured lenses are not the same as optometrist’s tinted lenses and are only made in Western Australia and California. What a difference these coloured lenses have made. Tarra now has a pair of special coloured lenses to suit her needs and can now READ! She can also see straight lines and catch a ball.

As Tarra was born with Irlen Syndrome she was not aware of what it was like to see like a normal person and therefore never mentioned it to us. On discovering that she had this syndrome it now explains why she had such troubles with learning, particularly reading, and why she could never balance a push bike, catch a ball or do a jigsaw puzzle. With Irlen Syndrome the problem lies not in the eye itself but in the perception process from the eye to the brain.

Since having these glasses and additional reading assistance Tarra is gaining confidence and a positive self-esteem. As a parent I am relieved and much happier. In fact the whole family is changing as the stress on us is fading away.

Yvonne 2012


I just wanted to give you an update on how Justin is going since he received his Irlen glasses.

I have to admit at first I wasn’t really sure if the whole thing was going to work. I knew Justin was having problems but I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was, until we came to see you. Still with kids you are never really sure if they are speaking the truth or not, and of course I felt no different with Justin. But I had to put my faith in you and your years of study and helping kids like him, so we took the plunge.

Justin has had his glasses for around 3-4 weeks now, again going to out of class reading group for half an hour each day, the same as he has done since year. He is now in year 4 after repeating year 3. His reading teacher is also giving extra help one on one with his spelling. I asked her the other day how he was going? She said since he received his Irlen glasses (she’s been seeing him since year 1) she had seen a marked improvement not only with his reading but with spelling and his concentration levels.

Justin has a list of around 14 words to learn and spell each week, he used to get most of these wrong. As of last week he only got one wrong and he is on top of the world!

His class also has a Smart Board that is used 90% of the time for class work. He now says he can see it, and never says he has a headache after school. He hardly ever complains about doing his homework, and that includes 10 minutes of reading.

So once a sceptic I’m now a believer.

I thank you so much you have given Justin new confidence and a willingness to learn. After school is such a pleasure now.

Trinette April 2011

Sharon (Jake's Mother)

Jake’s Light at the End of the Tunnel

Jake struggled even before he went to school. At a screening before school it was noted that Jake was having problems with his coordination e.g. He couldn’t stand on one leg or hop. Jake was then referred to an occupational therapist and as a result of this assessment Jake attended occupational therapy sessions. The occupational therapist worked on Jake’s gross motor development and the fact that he didn’t have a dominant side. As parents we decided to wait an extra year before we sent him to school.

Jake then started school and seemed to cope well until Year One, when he told me that the words he was reading were moving. At this time he was also reading and writing words backwards. He was then referred to an eye specialist who prescribed glasses and visual perception exercises.

Jake continued to struggle with spelling and sounding out words and was then referred to a speech therapist.

Jake also attended another group of occupational therapy workshops to help with his coordination and concentration.

Jake continued to struggle until Year 4 when his teacher noticed major problems with his spelling, handwriting and concentration. At this time Jake was referred to a Paediatrician to be assessed for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), which he was shown not to have.

During this time an Irlen Syndrome Screener gave a lecture on Irlen Syndrome to the teachers at Jake’s school. Listening to the information presented Jake’s teacher instantly thought of Jake, as he demonstrated most of the symptoms discussed at the in-service. Jake was then screened for Irlen Syndrome and was diagnosed with a high degree of the condition.

If a person suffers with Irlen Syndrome they are sensitive to light and often find reading very frustrating, unable to focus for any length of time on the printed word. Text can distort on the page and a white page can appear bright and glary, or flash in front of their eyes. Sufferers can experience regular headaches and are often fatigued at the end of the day. Irlen Syndrome is remedied by using Irlen coloured overlays or Irlen Coloured lenses. These lenses cannot be prescribed by optometrists.

Jake has been prescribed blue Irlen coloured lenses. There have been major changes in Jake and his self-confidence. We can now see a light at the end of the tunnel for Jake. After struggling for so many years and being convinced that he was dumb Jake is now reading with confidence and has just completed the Premier’s Reading Challenge at school. His spelling has changed from two words right to two words wrong in his spelling tests, and his handwriting has continued to improve.

If you have a child who is struggling with reading, spelling, handwriting and/or concentration; and they are complaining of any of the following problems - moving or blurry words, light sensitivity, seeing words backwards, cracks appearing on the page, please don’t hesitate to have them assessed. It could change their life forever.

Sharon (Jake's Mother)
February 2006


I am writing to you to say thank you ever so much for the Irlen lenses. The lenses with the prescription have made a priceless change in my every day and educational activities. It is taking a bit of adjusting between having the glasses on and during the period when I am not using them because there is just such a significant difference! In TAFE it is so much easier watching and reading the Power Points during our tutorials. The projector isn't moving as much and I have only had one headache reading from the text book in Business Studies.

Everything is easier to take in, I was waiting in the car for Dad while he was in the shops around 8pm so it was dark. All the lights were on in the plaza, the car park was flashing with all its colourful lights and all the cars were driving past with headlights on. I remember looking around with the glasses on and everything was fine to take in and I could notice details e.g. I could read the advertisement on the digital sign. I decided to take the glasses off to compare, and straight away everything was really bright and covered in hallows. Everything looked much more hectic, all the lights were glowing and it was a lot more to take in. I could barely make out what the sign had changed to.

Coffs Harbour 2014


Chas is doing really well since he has been wearing his Irlen glasses. Last week he was moved up into a B class for Maths and on Monday he came first in a science test and only 3 people passed. He was very excited to tell me.

Chas has not arguing with teachers or other kids and told me he believes the glasses have really made a big difference.

First glasses he broke the frames so he is on to the second frames but well worth it.
Thanks for your help.

Leonnie 2014

Joseph A. Annibali, M.D.

To Whom It May Concern:

My daughter, Elizabeth Annibali, now 22 years old, suffered for years with exquisite light sensitivity and debilitating, excruciating daily migraine headaches. Elizabeth, her mother (a nurse), and I (a physician), searched endlessly for a solution to her difficulties. Headache treatments, including many medications, intravenous steroids, and injections into Elizabeth’s scalp, provided only limited relief. We didn’t know where to turn.

Elizabeth, an extremely intelligent, inquisitive person, continued to search on her own to find an answer. Ultimately, through her searching she discovered Irlen Syndrome, and she asked that we agree to her screening for Irlen Syndrome. At that point, neither her mother nor I knew anything about Irlen Syndrome. I was skeptical. However, her mother and I were open to anything that might help our daughter, and we agreed to the Irlen evaluation.

The evaluation showed that Elizabeth did indeed suffer from Irlen Syndrome. Treatment with her colored filters has made all the difference in the world to Elizabeth. Using her glasses with filters or her specially-tinted contact lenses, Elizabeth no longer suffers from extreme light sensitivity. In addition, her once daily headaches have been reduced to about 1% of their previous frequency. In short, being diagnosed and treated for Irlen Syndrome has had a profoundly positive impact on her life.

Since her diagnosis, I have referred my own patients for Irlen screening. A number of them have indeed turned out to have Irlen Syndrome, and were treated using the colored filters with marked benefits. At Amen Clinics, where I am chief psychiatrist of the DC area clinic, we perform brain scans that demonstrate positive brain changes in those treated with Irlen filters.

This little-known condition deserves to be understood by all physicians, educators, and parents. The costs of missing the diagnosis are significant. The benefits of making the diagnosis and implementing treatment are marked.


Joseph A. Annibali, M.D.
Chief Psychiatrist, Amen Clinic DC
Certified, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Joseph A. Annibali, M.D.

I am aware that you raised questions about Irlen Syndrome and other visual disorders that may impact learning. Your naturally have questions, given the joint policy statement of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

I write to you as a psychiatrist with over 25 years of experience treating children, teens, and adults. Moreover, I write as the father of a daughter whose life was given back to her by being diagnosed and treated for Irlen Syndrome. It is my impression that many professional organizations are conservative, slow to change, and are motivated more by political issues than by science. Not having been a part of the deliberations of the Academies of Pediatrics and Ophthalmology, I cannot personally attest to their motivations. What I can attest to is that Irlen Syndrome is a very real condition. I have seen its effects on my daughter and on scores of my own patients, who travel to see me from all parts of the United States and throughout the world. My clinic performs functional brain imaging using SPECT scan technology. We see on our SPECT scans the impact on the brain of Irlen Syndrome and the normalization of brain function when Irlen Syndrome is treated successfully.

Diagnosing Irlen Syndrome can make an enormous difference in the lives of those affected. Missing the diagnosis, as usually happens, can be tragic. I understand that your school serves students with special needs. I respectfully urge you to have each and every student in your school screened for Irlen Syndrome, as it is likely that a number of your current students have this condition.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Joseph A. Annibali, M.D.
Chief Psychiatrist, Amen Clinic DC
Certified, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

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