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Special Tinted Lenses

Extracted from “Autism An inside-Out Approach” By Donna Williams

“Tinted lenses, specifically designed to combat visual-perceptual problems are another 'technique' that comes from an experience-based approach. The Irlen technique is a worldwide technique of assessing, fitting out and producing these lenses (which they refer to as Irlen Filters). Another technique being used by some specialists in the area of ophthalmology (the study of visual-perception) is the color-imitor technique. Both of these techniques use tinted lenses, or filters, to filter out certain light frequencies in order to reduce information overload through the eyes. Assessment for the correct tints within the Irlen Method involves looking through tinted lenses (through which one may look at the page or around at the environment or faces) and may be a more precise method of assessing when a tint is effective. The Color-imitor technique is primarily designed to deal with problems with the printed page and involves the shining of a colored light onto the printed page to assess which tint may be appropriate for lenses - a method which may be questionable in its accuracy. By reducing visual overload the brain can better process for meaning what the eyes see. These lenses can also have a secondary effect of reducing hypersensitivity to bright light and also in helping to reduce some of the 'interference' (the visual-perceptual equivalent of 'white noise') that can happen with visual hypersensitivity and visual-perceptual problems.

One of the other benefits of these tinted lenses, or 'filters', is that they may also improve functioning in other Systems, such as processing for meaning, what is heard or tasted or smelled or improving tactile processing and processing of body messages. This is because it is sometimes the case that other systems are forced to compensate for an overloaded system.

Because visual processing counts for around 70 per cent of all information processing, if it is overloaded, the effects upon these other systems can be quite extreme. When the burden upon visual processing is removed the burden on these other systems may also be lessened quite significantly In other cases, where compensation by other systems has not occurred, impairments in those other systems might remain independent and fundamentally unaffected".