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September 1990

Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome

Author Affiliations

Indianapolis, Ind

Arch Ophthalmol. 1990;108(9):1232-1233. doi:10.1001/archopht.1990.01070110048023

In 1983 Helen Irlen1 described the scotopic sensitivity syndrome (SSS) as a visual defect "related to difficulties with light source, glare, luminance, wave length, and black/white contrast." Since that time, tinted lenses have been offered as remediation for SSS, which Irlen links to reading deficiency and poor academic performance. On two occasions since May 1988 the tinted lens treatment for SSS received national exposure on the television program "60 Minutes." On this program it was stated that specially prescribed tinted lenses may be an effective method for the treatment of a variety of reading disorders, including dyslexia.

The Irlen system for treatment of SSS begins with a client who complains of one or more of a long list of symptoms, including eye fatigue, blinking, blurred vision, difficulty with concentration, and skipping words. After being questioned about general health problems, clients are asked to respond to a series of visual

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