Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tinted Lenses and Irlen Syndrome

I've had so many posts I've been wanting to make and have been not managing to get the words down. However, this post is a straightforward one.

At some point last year through some of the Sensory Processing Disorder people I heard of people using tinted lenses. Some of them also mentioned Irlen Syndrome, and we were going through the self-tests and commenting about how many of the criteria on the self-tests we meet. I meet almost all of them for headaches or light sensitivity, and in the long form, more than 3 in some of the other sections as well.

There is an Irlen center somewhat local to me, and I contacted them asking costs for everything over the summer. They gave me costs (which I don't remember the numbers of), and mentioned that November 1st they were going to be training people as Irlen screeners, and that if I wanted to be a person used as an example for them to learn on, then I could be screened for free.

So, November 1st I was screened for Irlen Syndrome. The screening process was quite interesting. I ended up in major overload and not being able to function for multiple days after it because of how much sensory overload I was in because of it though. They were nice and skipped over some sections when they wouldn't give them any information (i.e. We know she reacts poorly to florescent lights if she has such strong self reports and reports that from her occupational therapist so strongly, lets not test it here in order to try to not put her in overload as long as possible). Lots of what they did was purposefully putting visually difficult patterns and having me look at them and trying to cause visual distortions to come up - such as a penguin made up of Xs, or a drawing of a cube split unevenly.

My screening came back as expected saying that yes I did have Irlen Syndrome, so they then went and figured out what overlay color would help me. We went through different overlays and combinations of overlays until we figured out that aqua + aqua + grey was what would help me the most so they sent me home with that combination.

They agreed that tinted lenses would be really helpful to me - that they'd do far more for me than overlay would, so it was then a question of getting to tinted lenses. Going through the Irlen Center would cost money, we could do it cheaper than that...

You can dye polycarbonate (and other plastics) with synthetic fabric dyes. So we bought Blue and black dyes) and set out trying to get frames. Ended up trying to get rimless frames because we could try to do more ourselves with rimless frames, but we kept messing up trying to make lenses.

Last Tuesday we managed to dye a piece of plastic to the color of blue that I wanted my lenses to be dyed to. Later in the week we went to the optometrist, got other frames (thus if you try this route, don't go rimless they can't use rimless with tinted matching always), gave them the match, and told me I'd get my lenses Monday or Tuesday.

Yesterday at 2 pm (after I wrote most of this up actually) I picked them up! They still need adjusted for fit a bit, because I want them to be crooked in a particular manner to make them crooked with my face. It shouldn't be a hard adjustment now that I figured out what I want (I wasn't managing to explain there what I was wanting so we got them to comfortable and visibly level, and considered that good, now I've figured out what I was wanting).

Jonored is looking at possibly making blinders for the side if I have issues with peripheral vision and them, a few different possible materials have been looked at. I really like the idea of removable blinders, but I don't want to add on to his projects if he doesn't have time, so its currently an "if it becomes necessary, and let him think about how he wants to do it" thing. It'll probably happen though.

Anyways, I've definitely noticed they've helped. I'm going to after a while of wearing them go through and figure out in what areas are they helping. So far I know they're helping with florescent lights at least to some degree in particular and overall helping.