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Headaches & Nausea

Do you experiece regular headaches, migraines, or nausea?  

Headaches, migraines, and nausea, can all be regularly experienced by people who have Irlen Syndrome.  This occurs when the brain tries to make sense of visual information but light sensitivity makes this difficult.  Symptoms not only include headaches and migraines, but also nausea, fatigue, eye strain, lack of concentration, and depth perception problems. Irlen Syndrome is not a problem with the eyes, but a problem related to the brain's ability to process visual information (i.e. perceptual processing). 

There has been some interesting research conducted that shows the link between Irlen Syndrome and headaches and nausea:

  • 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).
  • 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.
  • 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.

Below are the results of SPECT Scans from the Amen Clinic, Newport Beach, CA, USA. These three-dimensional scans using SPECT technology show the portions of the brain that are in heavy use, or 'hot'. The scan on the left is the brain of a person with Irlen Syndrome. This scan shows many more 'hot' areas than a scan of a 'typical' person.  The scan on the right was taken when this same person is wearing Irlen filters.  The brain is said to be 'normalised' when the person is wearing the Irlen filters.  


        without filters               with filters

Last modified on November 21, 2021
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AAIC - Australasian Association Irlen Consultants