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Irlen Syndrome

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 3887, tabled on 15 January 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans his Department has to improve recognition of Irlen Syndrome within the NHS.

Answered on

23 January 2020

There continues to be a lack of consensus amongst medical professionals as to the existence and nature of Meares-Irlen syndrome as a distinct syndrome.

Any individuals experiencing visual symptoms should consult an optometrist to ensure that the possibility of refractive error or eye disease is not overlooked.

If after a sight test (and glasses if necessary) an individual is still experiencing difficulties, then a wider assessment may be necessary. Optometrist are able to arrange an onward referral to the appropriate discipline, if required.

In the case of a child, a wider assessment would involve collaboration across education, health and other professionals to identify the best response for the individual concerned.

Help with the cost of prescription glasses, through National Health Service optical vouchers, is currently available for eligible groups, including children, to help correct a defect in sight, identified during an NHS sight test. There are no plans to change the criteria for NHS optical vouchers.