Irlen Colored Filters in the Classroom: A 1-Year Follow-Up


Stuart J. Ritchie, Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, 7 George Square, Edinburgh EH8 9JZ, UK; e-mail:


Colored filters are used to treat Irlen syndrome (IS), a controversial disorder posited to be the cause of a substantial proportion of reading difficulties. Previously, we found that Irlen colored filters do not produce any short-term alleviation of reading difficulties in schoolchildren aged 7–12. Here, we tested whether colored filters show benefits with longer-term use, in a subset of the original sample. We measured reading rate with and without filters in 18 children diagnosed with IS, who had been using the filters for 1 year, and compared the progression of their reading ability across the year against 10 poor-reader control children. The Irlen-treatment group did not read any faster when using their colored filter, and showed no disproportionate gain in reading progress across the year compared to controls. We conclude that Irlen filters do not benefit reading, even after 1 year of use.