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International Turn Out the Lights Campaign Shines A Spotlight on Irlen Syndrome

Global Event Planned for October 17, 2017

Long Beach, CA (August 29, 2017) – Advocates for Irlen Syndrome everywhere are getting ready to turn out their lights in a united front to help raise awareness of the perceptual processing problem affecting approximately 15% of the general population. Part of a week-long, international awareness campaign, the international “Turn Out the Lights” event will take place on Tuesday, October 17 at 10a.m. local time, and asks supporters everywhere to turn out their fluorescent lights for one minute in support of Irlen Syndrome sufferers. Participants can check in on the world BLACK OUT map on the Irlen Institute website to join the event and let us know they went dark in support of Irlen Syndrome! Last year’s one-minute event drew participation from thousands of people in 103 countries around the world, nearly doubling participation from the previous year.

Irlen Syndrome impacts the brain’s inability to process visual information, affecting daily functioning. Individuals of all ages and ethnicities may experience Syndrome symptoms, which include light sensitivity, headaches or migraines, difficulty or discomfort when reading, eye-strain, and distorted print text or environment.

Irlen Syndrome affects millions of people around the world, but is not yet identified by standard educational or medical tests. The Awareness Week will draw attention to staggering numbers: 46% of individuals with reading and learning difficulties, 30% of people with ADHD and autism, and approximately 15% of the general population struggle with Irlen Syndrome. Without identification, most of these sufferers remain unaware of the true source of their problems, and are diagnosed with ADHD, dyslexia, behavior or psychiatric problems, while Irlen Syndrome goes unrecognized. Irlen Syndrome has also increasingly been linked to a significant portion of individuals with brain injury, chronic headaches and migraines.

Helen Irlen, for whom the syndrome is named, says, “Irlen Syndrome is more common than heart disease or asthma, and affects daily quality of life in serious ways. By increasing awareness, we hope to move away from costly misdiagnoses and help sufferers access readily available solutions.”

Failure to identify and treat Irlen Syndrome can have severe consequences, ranging from academic and workplace failure or ongoing physical and emotional symptoms, to increased likelihood to enter the criminal justice system. International Irlen Syndrome Awareness Week highlights the importance and ease of correctly identifying and treating Irlen Syndrome. To find out more about Irlen Syndrome Awareness Week and how you can participate visit https://www.irlensyndrome.org/isaw/.


The Irlen Foundation invites you to join their scholarship campaign to raise funds for Irlen Testing and Spectral Filters for low-income families that would otherwise go unidentified and unaddressed. Past scholarship recipients include youth in the juvenile justice system, disabled veterans, and former civil servants, all of whom were suffering from serious physical symptoms, such as migraines, vertigo, and severe photophobia.

Please visit www.irlensyndrome.org to learn more about Irlen Syndrome and to make a donation today.


The Irlen Syndrome Foundation, founded in 1996, is dedicated to increasing proper identification of and education about Irlen Syndrome. ISF supports outreach, and educational efforts around the world, driving change in policies, practices, and perceptions, so that individuals with Irlen Syndrome can have access to available and successful solutions. ISF is based in California. For more information, please visit www.irlensyndrome.org.


Sandra Tosta, Ph.D.
Phone: (562) 496-2550