Fluorescent Lighting Can Trigger ADHD, Dyslexia and Poor Achievement
By Helen L. Irlen, MA, LMFT, Executive Director, Irlen Institute International
"Fluorescent lighting may do more harm than good. Long term clinical studies by the Irlen Institute and independent sources have found that reading difficulties as well as academic underachievement may be related to fluorescent lighting. For example, a 2006 study by Capital E found that students in schools that had natural lighting instead of fluorescent lighting had 10 to 21 percent higher learning rates and test scores. Fluorescent lighting may cause pain and suffering for 12-14 percent of the world’s population, triggering headaches, migraines, and other physical symptoms.
According to U.S. Congresswoman Heather Wilson (R-N.M.), the long-term visual and perceptual effects of fluorescent lighting on Irlen Syndrome should be considered when drafting fluorescent lighting legislation.
“Energy efficiency should be balanced with consumer protection and protecting the public health,” she said “The long term effects of fluorescent lighting should be well studied and understood before Congress mandates that consumers use fluorescent lighting in their homes and businesses.”
Tens of thousands of people have sought help from the Irlen Institute because of difficulties with fluorescent lighting. These people are already at a distinct disadvantage because of the fluorescent lighting in their schools and workplaces. They stress and tire quickly. For many, reading ability quickly deteriorates and productivity suffers in the classroom and on the job. If forced to replace burned out incandescent bulbs with fluorescent ones, these people may experience the same issues adversely affecting their lives at home, too.
The following are just a few of the individuals who have been helped by the Irlen Method and no longer have problems directly resulting from fluorescent lights. But they are the lucky ones. Millions of other individuals are struggling to perform in a fluorescent lighting environment. We need to spread the word so that these individuals have a choice and are not forced to struggle in their homes, schools, and workplaces.
Sarah is 17 years old and in 11th grade, but not attending school. She was diagnosed with severe dyslexia and reading problems in second grade. She gets headaches daily when in school and migraines about twice a month. She was physically exhausted when she would come home and sleep for hours and was experiencing extreme anxiety. Her psychiatrist determined her problems were triggered by fluorescent lighting, placed her on Prozac, and recommended that she leave school. The negative affects of the fluorescent lighting have seriously affected her motivation, attention, and performance.
Bryce is 12 years old and in the sixth grade. He was getting poor grades in school, was unable to finish tests, could not finish his work in class, or focus. He was diagnosed with ADD and placed on medication, which was not helpful. Once it was determined that fluorescent lighting triggered poor attention and concentration, the problems were resolved using specially filtered lenses.
Tanisha is a third grader with reading problems who falls asleep in class under fluorescent lights. She also gets headaches when trying to read under fluorescent lights, because the words and numbers move around on the page.
Mariel is 29 years old and would always fall asleep in class even though she had enough sleep. For her, fluorescent lights are too bright, bothersome, and irritating. She is unable to concentrate and wants to turn them off. Fluorescent lights make her dizzy, tired, irritated, nervous, and anxious.
The Irlen Institute has seen thousands of individuals like these who struggle trying to read and perform under fluorescent lighting. Individuals have been mislabeled with LD, ADD/HD, reading problems, and dyslexia—all as a result of having to perform under fluorescent lights. This is a little known problem that affects millions. Faced with a worldwide movement to ban incandescent bulbs, it is critical for all of us to be more informed and to raise the awareness of others. Energy efficiency should be balanced with consumer protection and protecting the public heath. I encourage you to share this information with others and visit the International Irlen web site at www.irlen.com. Then take action by making your concerns known to your schools, employers, and legislators at the local, state, and national levels.
Dr. Singer's 2 cents:
I am having a huge problem with the world becoming a giant fluorescent glare inside of our homes, businesses and restaurants and outside at night. The glare is unbearable and just blocks out anything around it. It also washes out color of anything beautiful near it. I have read many things including the article above about the dangers and harm that fluorescent bulbs have caused, but it seems that many in our country have made moves to replace bulbs that are comfortable and better for humans to ones that have a track record of being very harmful.
Thankfully there are alternatives coming out that we can use personally, but for those who suffer with migraine or light sensitivity, until the world at large changes back to a more normal type of light for human beings, their lives become limited which is not fair. I have read and heard that the curly fluorescent bulbs are both chemically dangerous if they break.
I am hoping that people make use of the alternatives out there like the company above or Newcandescent enough to create some serious competition. Would love to hear your comments about your experiences with the new and also older fluorescent lights.
If a child is in this situation long enough it can cause other kinds of problems processing information that can hold the child back. Good practice is needed to bring those skills back to a good place.Ask me how from home...
Have you ever had a moment where you did something with your child and right afterwards, you sat down and a moment from your own childhood started to play that wasn't exactly positive? I just had that moment. My son came into my office as I am sitting here intensely trying to unlock severe writer's block and trying to find anything online to move me forward. He asked me to come with him. I asked him if it was important because I was trying to work. He told me it was game related so it was not important and he didn't even wait for me to get to the end of my sentence before he said it and started to walk away. When I originally asked my son if it was important, the never ending truth that everything about him and what he enjoyed was and will and should always be important, should have been evident to me first and I knew that as the glancing blow of guilt grazed across my nose when I first said it to him. At some level, I knew that it was the wrong thing to say, but the driven part of me that supports the same son as well as my whole family came out as the victor in the battle of the internal wills.
I still went to see what he wanted me to see, because the guilt was motivating, but my response remained in my work and in getting back to it as fast as I could, so my responses to him were less than interested. I did go back to my, for today, non productive chair and started to scroll through the landing page website I was studying. Suddenly, I was 10 and my dad was just home from a 14 hour day of work and I tried to ask something and got pushed aside. Not physically as my dad did not ever become physical. Not even maliciously, because there was never a more hard working man committed to taking care of his family, but still enough that you knew that his head was still in work and the problems of the day and what you had to say could not be as important at the moment. So I sat in that millisecond of a moment and started to feel ill. I had done the same thing to my son in that moment and now he was sitting there feeling unimportant and certainly less important than my work.
Yes I am human and yes I know that we all do it from time to time, but I was not going to be that kind of parent. It was time to prioritize the right way. So I got up and walked over to him and told him out loud that I was sorry for acting that way and that what was important to him IS always important to me and I am interested in what he likes to do and that he should show me and not be worried about coming to show me things, even when I am working. I kissed him on the head, told him I love him and he said he understood. I went back to work in my office and my writer's block lifted like a foggy morning goes away in the light of the sun. I had taken a ghost of the past and righted it for me and for him.
The moral of the story for you and for me: there is never a moment lost that you cannot get back by doing the right thing and saying the right words. The kids come first and with that, the creativity will follow. Our kids are my life force.
Now get up from your addictive screen and go hug and kiss your kids!
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