• attention;
  • dyslexia;
  • Meares–Irlen syndrome;
  • visual processing;
  • visual stress


The potential role of visual processing deficits in reading difficulty was brought to public attention by claims that a large proportion of children with dyslexia suffer from a perceptual dysfunction currently referred to as Meares–Irlen syndrome (MISViS). A previous study showing that visual perceptual measures involving visual memory and discrimination predict independent variance in reading achievement [J. Learn. Disabil. 28 (1995) 216] provides a basis to examine their relationships with the diagnostic criteria of MISViS. This study examined these visual processing characteristics in 36 eight- to ten-year-old children, half of whom were experiencing reading difficulty. Children were assessed for MISViS by Irlen screeners; approximately half of the participants in each group were positively identified. Concurrent performance on standardized visual processing tests showed that while a positive diagnosis of MISViS is not indicative of reading ability, nor in particular of a visual-processing deficit subtype identified by Watson and Willows [J. Learn. Disabil. 28 (1995) 216], MISViS can indicate visual processing difficulties potentially related to visual attention inefficiency.