A great deal of scientific study of the effectiveness of the Irlen treatment is available today. Indeed many scientists have done extensive research on this topic. Their studies demonstrate the efficacy of the Irlen Method.
There are numerous controlled studies that have reported improvement in reading with the use of colored filters. These studies have reported improvements in reading when using colored plastic overlays, colored computer monitors or when illuminating text with colored light (Bouldoukian, Wilkins, & Evans, 2002; Chase, Ashourzadeh, Kelly, Monfette, & Kinsey, 2003; Croyle, 1998; Evans & Joseph, 2002; Jeanes, Busby, Martin, Lewis, Stevenson, Pointon et al., 1997; Noble, Orton, Irlen, & Robinson, 2004; Northway, 2003; Scott, McWhinnie,Taylor, Stevenson, Irons, & Lewis, 2002; Solan, Brannan, Ficarra, & Byrne, 1997; Solan, Ficarra, Brannan, & Rucker, 1998;Tyrrell, Holland, Dennis, & Wilkins, 1995; Wilkins & Lewis, 1999; Wilkins, Lewis, Smith, Rowland, & Tweedie, 2001; Williams, Le Cluyse, & Littell, 1996).
There are also studies which report improvements in eye strain, headaches and reading when using colored lenses (Chronicle & Wilkins, 1991; Evans, Patel, & Wilkins, 2002; Good, Taylor, & Mortimer, 1991; Harris & MacRow-Hill, 1999; Lightstone, Lightstone, & Wilkins, 1999; Robinson & Conway, 2000; Robinson & Foreman, 1999, Wilkins, Patel, Adjamian, & Evans, 2002. A number of studies have used placebo controls (Bouldoukian, Wilkins, & Evans, 2002; Jeanes et al., 1997; Robinson & Foreman, 1999; Wilkins, Evans, Brown, Busby, Wingfield, Jeanes, & Bald, 1994; Wilkins & Lewis, 1999). These studies have all been reported in peer reviewed journals, using reviewers with expertise in their fields who are likely to recommend the publication of studies which are well controlled and which follow scholarly methodological process.
In addition, a credible scientific theory has been presented and discussed in the literature for some years. This theory relates to a deficit in the magnocellular visual neurological pathway. A recent review of research and series of studies relating to this theory has been published by Chase et al. (2003). The paper by Chase et al. outlines a number of studies which suggest that red light disrupts magnocellular tasks and that the use of blue filters (which filter red light) results in an improvement in reading performance.
I hope this information may be of use to you. Yours sincerely,
Dr Greg Robinson, Ph.D.
Special Education Centre
UNIVERSITY OF NEWCASTLE