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Ophthalmic Physiol Opt. 1996 Jul;16(4):286-96.

A preliminary investigation into the aetiology of Meares-Irlen syndrome.

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Institute of Optometry, London, UK.


A recent double-masked placebo-controlled trial has confirmed that some children experience a reduction in symptoms of eyestrain and headache when they read through individually prescribed coloured filters and has shown that this benefit cannot be solely attributed to a placebo effect. People who are helped by coloured filters in this way have been described as having "Meares-Irlen syndrome'. We investigated the mechanism of this benefit by studying the optometric and visual perceptual characteristics of the children in the double-masked study. This population had normal refractive errors and heterophorias (none of the subjects had strabismus). They demonstrated slightly, but significantly, reduced amplitudes of accommodation and vergence and poor stereo-acuity. However, these factors seemed to be correlates of Meares-Irlen syndrome rather than the underlying cause. Pattern glare, a sensitivity to striped patterns (e.g. lines of text), was prevalent in our sample and was significantly associated with the subjects' symptoms. The spatial contrast sensitivity function was normal.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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