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Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 1995 Sep;15(5):481-7.

Optometric correlates of Meares-Irlen syndrome: a matched group study.

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  • 1Institute of Optometry, London, UK.


People who report visual perceptual distortions, typically when reading, that are alleviated by using coloured filters are described as suffering from 'Meares-Irlen Syndrome'. A recent double-masked placebo-controlled trial showed that this condition cannot be solely explained as a placebo effect and that the beneficial filter is idiosyncratic and sometimes needs to be highly specific. Several mechanisms have been suggested for Meares-Irlen Syndrome including ocular motor (binocular and accommodative) anomalies, a sensitivity to patterned stimuli (pattern glare), and a deficit of the transient visual sub-system. We investigated these hypotheses by comparing 16 children, who reported the symptoms described above and who showed a sustained benefit from coloured filters, with 25 control children who came from the same school and were matched for age, reading performance and intelligence. The 'Meares-Irlen Syndrome' group had slightly, but significantly, reduced vergence and accommodative amplitudes and stereo-acuity; they also demonstrated significantly more pattern glare. The two groups did not differ significantly in their visual acuities, refractive error, dissociated or associated heterophoria, AC/A ratio, or ability to perceive 20 Hz flicker. It appears that certain ocular motor factors are correlates of Meares-Irlen Syndrome, rather than the primary underlying cause of the symptoms. The results support the hypothesis that pattern glare may be involved in the mechanism of Meares-Irlen Syndrome.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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