Screening for Meares-Irlen sensitivity in adults: can assessment methods predict changes in reading speed?

Jarrod Hollis, Peter M Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)


Two methods of assessing candidates for coloured overlays were compared with the aim of determining which method had the most practical utility. A total of 58 adults were assessed as potential candidates for coloured overlays, using two methods; a questionnaire, which identified self-reported previous symptoms, and a measure of perceptual distortions immediately prior to testing.

Participants were classified as normal, Meares-Irlen sensitive, and borderline sensitive. Reading speed was measured with and without coloured overlays, using the Wilkins Rate of Reading Test and the change in speed was calculated. 

Participants classified as normal did not show any significant benefit from reading with an overlay. In contrast, a significant reading advantage was found for the borderline and Meares-Irlen participants. Current symptom rating was found to be a significant predictor of the change in reading speed, however the previous symptom rating was not found to be a reliable predictor. These data indicate that the assessment of perceptual distortions immediately prior to measuring colour preference and reading speed is the most meaningful method of assessing pattern glare and determining the utility of coloured overlays.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)566-71
Number of pages6
JournalOphthalmic & physiological optics : the journal of the British College of Ophthalmic Opticians (Optometrists)
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 30 Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Flicker Fusion/physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Perceptual Distortion/physiology
  • Reading
  • Sensory Aids
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vision Tests
  • Visual Perception/physiology


Dive into the research topics of 'Screening for Meares-Irlen sensitivity in adults: can assessment methods predict changes in reading speed?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this