What our clients have to say

Good morning Clayton,

I thought you might like an update on my tribe of Irlens.

Jayde in the first week of having her glasses went from doing her writing of half a sentence to three full sentences her teacher has noticed a massive change in her attention and also noticed that she is sitting still when it comes to reading.

Lucas is wearing his more often and he’s making a lot of progress too.

Mason Is actually wanting to do his homework and he said it’s a lot easier now and his teacher is very impressed with how well he is doing.

Me on the other hand I am 33 years old and I tell you it was very hard going wearing the coloured lenses, the little kids did not care but the negativity I got was totally unreal but I am now past caring, I CAN SEE! I don’t need to get a bigger TV anymore I am more focused ( Work has also commented on how settled I am now )

The first time I wore my glasses I was driving to work and I am surprised I did not have a crash, I was seeing things before that I could not see before. I was in shock at how much I had been missing out on. I am just so happy my kids have help now rather than waiting till they are adults!

Thank you so much for all you time and encouragement, you have changed our lives and how we see things!

K. Olsen


I will start with my name and age, my name is Kirstin Olsen I am 33 years old and struggled with school as a child and teenager.

I tried to learn music but failed to understand or read the music, it was very frustrating I thought it was normal for all the lines to be moving and jumping off the page!

I also struggled with maths, science, English- anything that I had to sit down and read I struggled with. I did get my eyes tested when I was 12. I did get glasses for reading but these did not make much difference.

I enjoyed art and sewing hands on activities, I loved and did well at these as I didn’t have to sit to still and focus on the work or writing. My spelling was shocking and I felt my confidence with school work was declining.

I was a bit of a class clown and hated sitting still, I was in trouble most of the classes I struggled in. I started to wag school and not want to go- I felt so dumb and worthless with school work it was really a sad time for me!

I finished high school and went on to Polytech but found I still had problems with concentrating and falling asleep in class; my eyes would water and get really sore.

I ended up giving up polytech and the hope of getting a decent job.

I got married at 20 and had my first child at 19, I am now a mum of five wonderful children ( Yes I said FIVE )-

Blake 13, Mason 12, Lucas 9 and I had twins Danny and Jayde 6.

I started work a year or so ago and found my eyes were playing up, they would water and itch, I struggled to see the computer screen and I noticed that the phone list was very hard to read, the black writing would shift and move and I was started also suffering headaches regularly too.

I went and got my eyes tested and got new glasses, I was told my lazy eye was pretty bad…

I was wearing my glasses and we have a massive big txt and I told my husband that we needed a bigger tv as people’s faces were a blur, even at the movies faces would be a blur and my eyes would water. I couldn’t watch 3D movies it gave me head aches and my eyes would just stream with tears- what was going on? This can’t be normal! Was it hay fever? I also noticed if I was talking to someone and they were sitting down with light behind them it would make me feel sick and blinds were terrible -they made me feel very uneasy! I found I was wearing sun glasses all the time as the light hurt my eye and made them water!

Then one day a teacher at school noticed my wee girl Jayde was having problems with school work and rocking backwards and forwards while reading Jayde also struggled to write one story when it was story time.

The teacher that noticed these struggles and was an Irlen-trained teacher at in2learning. Tabitha did the tests for myself and my 5 children- it turned out I had Irlens Syndrome and 3/5 of my children do too. This explains a lot with my kids struggling to learn, I just thought they were like me and would struggle as I did.

But it turns out I could’ve been doing well at school. I could have studied and been a better person than I am today with a better paying job etc. I am just glad that my kids have been seen to now and not as adults and have regrets like I do.

I can now watch tv! I went to my children’s school production and almost cried, I could see their wee faces- I could see everything! I now enjoy watching t.v and reading I no longer get headaches and everyone at work said I am more settled on my chair and more focused. Jayde has gone from writing half a story during writing time to finishing three stories at a time, reading better and more settled at school.

Mason now loves doing homework and has really taken off and is getting good marks at school.

Lucas is also doing really well and more focused at school.

It’s been a very costly journey but it’s a lifetime of happiness and will make everything seem the way it should. I am so thankful for all the help and support that we received from Tabitha, to Clayton to our optometrists, Mark Bridgmount of Beaumont and Bridgmount of South Dunedin!

Onwards and upwards for my darling children and myself.

Thank you all for your amazing support and helping us see us .xx

To whom it may concern

I have suffered from headaches and migraines partly due to oversensitivity to light since I was a small child.I have also had problems reading music (I am a music teacher) and experienced pain in my eyes when I read for any length of time.I had sought medical help and had used a lot of preventative medication as well as pain relief for the headaches and migraines. I had to wear sunglasses all the time and in summer I would wear them inside.I talked to Clayton Riley about this and he suggested an Irlen test which I undertook and had my glasses tinted with the appropriate colours.The change in my health has been extraordinary.Last week I threw out boxes and boxes of unused pain medicine for migraines and headaches and have only had about three migraines in the past two years.I used to have headaches most days and frequent migraines.My eyes would hurt a lot of the time.My symptoms are almost non-existent and the only time I get a headache is if I am over tired or unwell.I can read and play music for long periods of time.

There has been a significant improvement in my ability to accurately read music on a score.I have the knowledge and understanding and often wondered why I missed or misread small details like articulation or notes.The notes on the page are much clearer, they don’t move around and I can see clearly all the small details.When I was younger I felt inadequate because I wasn’t a good reader, but the truth was, I was a good reader who had perception and light problems.

If anyone is skeptical they can contact me.I have been almost completely pain free for two years.I read much more easily and have less eye strain.The light does not bother me much at all.I do not need large amounts of pain relief.I am a qualified music teacher, I have a degree and I play a number of instruments.My work requires me to read and play music for many hours each day, with my Irlen glass I can handle the work-load.I am very grateful for the information, diagnosis and support from Clayton Riley.

Anna Cannon

To whom this may concern,

I remember as a child being forced to read by my parents and teachers and when I did read (which was rare) I would only read in the dark. I was just so sensitive to light. I would try to do everything in the dark, I hated the light so much I barely ever went outside, the only time I went outside was when I was able to hide in the shade. The glare from the sun was almost unbearable, in fact even days that were over cast was just as unbearable as sunny days.

I remember also reading with a ruler, otherwise I found it near impossible to read in a straight line and I would take forever to read. One day I timed how long it would take to read one page in a novel that was written for a reading age of 12. It took 30 minutes. By the time I finished that page I couldn’t remember half of what was written, nor could I really understand half of it.

I remember being ashamed at intermediate school because I had a reading age of a 9 year old, when I was 12. I was ridiculed at school and even at high school for not being able to read properly and not being able to spell or even write anything that was actually readable. All of this went on until two weeks before my exams at the end of the year when I was in a pre-health course. I was 22. I had already had my eyes tested many times and they were perfect. It stopped when I got diagnosed with Irlen’s and I got my first pair of Irlen glasses.

Now, I was not a stupid kid, who skipped school and hated teachers. In fact I was quite the opposite, I was ‘teacher’s pet’. I would be the first one in and the last one out of school (this was throughout all my years of study). I would spend literally hours at home every night and in the weekends reading and re-reading everything I had learnt that day/week and I would struggle. I would even had ‘weekend classes’ with one or two of the teachers, who would spend their own time with me in the weekend going through all the work. Once they sat down with me, one on one, I would pick it up and if they drew it or showed it to me physically (without it being written down) I would pick it up immediately and understand it straight away.

By the time I was 22 I was in my pre-health year (this was for people who had not done 6th and 7th form science or who didn’t pass it and needed it, to get into the health sectors). Because I didn’t pass my exam in 5th form science, (not due to lack of hard work, in fact I finished the whole year of 5th form science in the first 2 terms, I did assignments every week, specifically for me and I would get a passing rate of 98% - all due to my teacher showing me and explaining things to me). I failed due to not understanding some of the questions that were in the exam, I found it hard to read and comprehend what they were asking (after the exam I sat down with my parents and asked them the questions, they would re-word it and I knew instantly how to answer it).

I found during the pre-health course I was getting C- and D results and couldn’t understand it, I was putting in the hours and hard work too. I even had some of the teachers (again, like high school) showing me and I got it, but when it came to those exams C- and D would come up time and time again. It wasn’t until I was in my physics class one day that I found something wasn’t right. My teacher kept talking about a paragraph that I couldn’t see on the page we were going through, it drove me insane, I kept asking everyone beside me if they could see this paragraph. Everyone thought I was acting odd, as all of them could see it. It got really strange when he went on about the graph that was shown on the whiteboard, that was projected from the overhead projector. For the life of me I could not see this graph. The fluorescent light gave me a headache and I was struggling to read at all, I asked the teacher if he could turn the light off over the whiteboard, which he did. Suddenly the graph appeared. I was a little confused at first and by the time he flicked the light on and off a couple of times to see if the light was better on or off for himself I realised something was wrong. Every time the light went on the graph disappeared, light off, graph seen.

When he turned all the lights off, but with the light outside still coming in I could read the page easily and then suddenly the paragraph he had been going on about appeared. Once the lights went on I lost the paragraph and my place in the page.

Once I looked into it and found it could possibly be Irlen’s syndrome and got tested (I received a 100% positive for Irlen’s) and got the glasses, I sat down and looked over all the notes for the course and re-read everything 2 weeks prior to the last exams. For every exam I got a B+ or up to A, except one which I got a C- but was happy with, as this was chemistry and all year I got F or at best a D.

I remember this problem of reading was picked up earlier when I went to tuition and they told my mum I might have this thing called Irlen’s. My mum naturally being generally concerned asked my principle at school about this Irlen’s thing and the principle just waved it off saying it was nonsense. Once I was old enough and finally figured out something wasn’t right, especially when the graph appeared with the lights off in physics, I went and got tested. I remember during the test sitting under the horrible florescent lights, that constantly flickered (though I was the only one that ever experience this) and looking at the different pages of writing and remembering mum’s face when I said I couldn’t see the page, just the pictures and lines. There was no pictures or lines, it was just me looking at the all the white space on the page that created these ‘images’ and ‘lines’. Something that occurred naturally day to day and she would always ask why I would draw all over the pages, well this was why. I found it more interesting drawing the lines I seen than trying to read the words I couldn’t.

Again in the test, I would constantly point out that the writing was not in a straight line, nor was the ink on the page consistent throughout, as parts of it appeared to be bold and others almost faint. Or I would read something that wasn’t actually there, or miss words, lines or whole paragraphs that were seemingly there that I couldn’t see. There was many more things too that I pointed out, but was hard to describe to someone who doesn’t have this and try and make them understand that this is what I am experiencing, because for me it is quite normal.

I found it extremely hard to understand that I was missing whole paragraphs, until that day in physics. I also found it hard to understand what people meant when they could see black ink on white paper and how the ink would be raised above the white paper, so you can read each word separately. That whole concept was beyond me. Black ink raised? Above the white paper? Read each word separately? Now with the Irlen’s glasses this is starting to happen and finally I can understand what people mean.

Looking back on things now I realised many things that showed I had Irlen’s and was put down to ‘not being able to concentrate in class’, ‘tiredness’, ‘being an odd child’ (like reading in the dark) or ‘not being good enough to ever be good at anything’. With sheer determination and with the help of my parents and great teachers I survived school.

I remember as a kid I knew there wasn’t something quite right as I found everything I read so difficult, so hard to remember and what I had read so hard to comprehend, this wasn’t like this for other kids my age. I also found I was the only one that found it difficult to read for more than half an hour before my eyes started to hurt and the headaches would begin. I also noticed I was the only one who couldn’t read quickly (as stated before 30 minutes for one page that was for the reading age of a 12 year old) and I definitely couldn’t skim read. Now with my glasses I can sit down and read a very comprehensive book solidly for 5 hours and not get a headache, sore tired eyes and read 1/3 of a book, remember it and understand it.

It wasn’t just reading that I found hard, I was very light sensitive, colour sensitive (I hated every single colour but black, green, purple and light blues as it hurt my eyes), had a very poor comprehension and memory. I also had a major problem with spatial depth. There was one time in particular I will never forget, I had just finished school for the day and was ready to hop on the bus to go home. I thought the bus door was just literally to my right, so I went to walk a bit to my right and hop on, except I walked straight into the front of the bus. For the life of me I couldn’t figure out how I misjudged the bus by so much. The bus door was ½ a meter away from me. I used to and still do when I’m not wearing my glasses, walk into doors and walls and I cannot catch anything!

I also remember as a little kid being so absorbed in shadows and so fascinated with them, the shadow or part of the ‘negative space’ was just the same as the flower or the ‘positive space’, to me I couldn’t distinguish the difference between the two and in fact to some degree the shadow stood out more to me than that of the flower. I have done an arts degree and when they were teaching us how to draw they would always go on about ‘negative’ and ‘positive’ spaces and say that in order to draw well you must show the ‘negative’ space and therefore you will show the ‘positive’ (the actual subject) correctly. I didn’t really understand why everyone else struggled with this concept of drawing the ‘negative’ space, I found it a lot easier than seeing the ‘positive’ space.

This was the same as reading. I would see the ‘negative space’, the white space within the black ink, not the black ink itself. If I did see the black ink, it would come and go and then I would find it hard to define the two, then the words would blur, move, jump or disappear completely. The size and font would have a lot to do with how I would read. As I got older I found the reading thing was just not happening for me and when I found I was 3 years below my reading age, I knew I had to pick it up quickly otherwise I would get harassed something terribly.

I discovered that almost everything that was typed was in size 12, font time’s new roman. So I began to memorise. I would get mum to read everything for me, read it out aloud and spell it/sound it out (this I found hard to do myself) and then I would look at each word, the ‘negative’ space and its ‘positive’, the shape and pattern and count the letters in the word and memorise it. Then after that I would sit down and ‘read’ by myself and for a while, my reading got better and I was up with my peers, my comprehension however was not. When times new roman was out and other fonts in or new words that I didn’t know came in to the mix I found it very hard to read. Sometimes, if the font was still times new roman and I didn’t know the word (whether I was aware of it or not) I would replace it with something that was similar in the number of letters, similar in shape, pattern and ‘negative’ space. In theory this was great, but actually reading it out loud, to everyone else but myself this made absolutely no sense at all, especially when the word I replace it with had nothing to do with that actually was there. My reading age dropped, confidence dropped and comprehension below par.

Once I received my Irlen glasses and I re-learnt how to read and saw the words for what they were, life changed. I suddenly could understand, I could see things that before I could swear black and blue weren’t there, I stopped getting bruises from walking into so many things, I was less tired, I remembered more, I became less of a ‘vampire’ and actually went out into the sun, reading was easier, better and actually fun. My comprehension improved, my hand writing was better and I didn’t muddle up my words and numbers quite so much.

So for any none believer’s out there, Irlen’s is a real thing. You have no idea how much it affects your day to day living and understanding. I have no idea just how much and what I have missed out on as a kid. I paid dearly in the respect of working beyond what I should of, just to receive a dismal 40% - 50% or if lucky 60% in exams, when I could have been doing other things and enjoyed being a kid, instead of getting bullied and harassed at school. If it hadn’t been for my shear pride, determination and stubbornness to succeed and showing everyone that believed I wasn’t worth bothering about, plus my parents and great teachers to help, I would have for sure flunked out and ended up doing goodness knows what.

I am very thankful that I have had the opportunity to get tested and to get my Irlen glasses and for someone to believe it is not just all in my head, but that it is a real thing. Since I have had these glasses, I have now successfully finished (with an average grade of A) and graduated with a bachelor in medical imaging. It has almost been 3 years since qualified as a radiographer (MRT) and I am now thinking of specializing in MRI or CT within the years to come.

Amanda Don

Radiographer at the Dunedin Public Hospital.