Despite what we see on our screens as healthy and successful personalities, those celebrities are humans like us, dealing with everyday normal people’s challenges.
We admire their determination and zeal, especially from celebrities living with life-long incurable conditions.
One such condition, though overlooked, is Irlen Syndrome.
What Is Irlen Syndrome?
Irlen Syndrome, also known as Meares-Irlen Syndrome or Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome, is a visual processing disorder that largely affects the brain’s function due to light sensitivity.
Simply put, the brain of people living with Irlen Syndrome receives visual information differently from those without the condition.
This disorder has a hereditary component/genetic marker.
People with Irlen Syndrome often experience difficulties with reading, writing, and other tasks that require sustained visual concentration.
Physical symptoms include:
- Migraines and headaches
- Blurry/swirling vision
- Optical illusions
- Irritability/mood swings
- Words distortion
Although it is estimated that up to 12-14% of the general population may have Irlen Syndrome, it often goes undiagnosed. In other cases, it is confused with Dyslexia since they both share similar symptoms.
Since it cannot be cured, people living with Irlen Syndrome can only manage it using lenses designed to block certain light wavelengths that may affect the brain’s function.
Here are some celebrities who are living with the condition and have shared their experiences with Irlen Syndrome.
1. Paddy Considine
Considine is an award-winning English actor, director, musician, and screenwriter.
He began his acting career in 1999 after graduating from University.
Considine graduated with a first-class BA despite his condition.
He was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in 2011 after he experienced struggles in social situations where he was ‘always portrayed as angry.’
A year later, after showing no improvement, he was found to have Irlen Syndrome, which was later confirmed in 2013 by Helen Irlen, the American Psychologist who discovered the use of spectral filters in assisting the brain to process visual information.
Considine wears purple irlen filters which aid in his visual stimuli.
2. John Lennon
Lennon was an English singer-songwriter, musician, and peace activist.
He was a founder and member of The Beatles until he left the band in 1969.
Lennon died in 1980, just before the discovery of Irlen Syndrome.
However, Lennon might have had the condition since he suffered from depression, challenges reading, attention and concentration problems, and visual stress.
He wore tinted glasses to aid in his vision.
3. Henry Winkler
Winkler is an American actor, author, and comedian.
He rose to fame in his debut as Fonzie in the TV series Happy Days.
He was diagnosed with Dyslexia at the age of 31.
However, further research indicates that Winkler has the Irlen Syndrome.
While many experts were unable to tell the two conditions apart in the past, some people are known to suffer from both conditions.
4. Lucy Lawless’ Kids
Lawless is a New Zealand actress who is most famous for her cast in the TV series Xena: Warrior Princess as Xena.
Two of her children, Daisy and Judah, were diagnosed with Irlen Syndrome, which affected them in different ways.
Judah’s condition caught her attention after she received a report from school regarding her son’s “lack of readiness.”
Assessment from an educational psychologist was unsuccessful until one of Judah’s teachers recommended that he get an Irlen Syndrome screening.
Judah, who is also dyslexic, wears tinted glasses.
Unlike the case with her brother, Daisy Lawless’ condition was caught later in life, and she uses colored overlays while reading or using a computer.
Irlen Syndrome is a real and often overlooked condition that affects many people from all walks of life, including celebrities and public figures.
Sadly, most people with the condition are often dismissed as lazy, rebellious, stubborn, and even stupid.
If you or someone you know experiences visual distortions, headaches, or eye strain when reading or working with visual information, it may be worth exploring whether Irlen Syndrome is the cause.
Consult with a qualified professional for diagnosis and treatment recommendations.
If the above-mentioned persons have found a way to manage their condition and lead a normal life, so can you!