Hi, my name is Emily, and I have Irlen Syndrome.
I found that out when I had suffered from chronic, severe eye strain for over three years, and could find nothing that would make it better – save never looking at a computer screen, never driving a car, never reading a book, and never going outside on a sunny day (even wearing sunglasses brought limited relief there).
Might as well put me in prison as make me live like that.
What is Irlen Syndrome? What does it have to do with chronic eye strain?
First answer: it was named by Helen Irlen, a school psychologist who discovered that some children diagnosed with dyslexia and other reading problems were “cured” when they were given colored plastic sheets to place over texts – and found that the letters suddenly stopped moving and getting blurry. Irlen Syndrome presents itself with a variety of symptoms caused by the brain not interpreting certain light waves correctly. Which light waves the brain doesn’t understand determines the symptoms that will show up.
I was always in the top reading group in elementary school, and devoured books. But as I hit my teenage years, I would get tired after reading for about half an hour (now it’s more like twenty minutes). When I became an adult, I could no longer tolerate being outside in the sun without sunglasses. I was having more and more trouble looking at a computer screen, coming away with extremely heavy eyelids and wanting to nap.
Irlen Syndrome becomes progressively worse with age, and I can certainly attest to that! I severely strained my eyes back in December of 2009 by working on the computer too long without a break, without blinking. It was a nightmare. I tried everything, but nothing ever gave me more than temporary relief.
After being tested and diagnosed for Irlen Syndrome, I bought the special Irlen lenses, but they didn’t do much for me, for very long. Subsequently, I discovered an herbal formula called Eyebright formula (which contains the herb known as…wait for it, wait for it…EYEBRIGHT!) that Dr. Cynthia Foster sells. It helped me feel somewhat better, but after washing my eyes with it for a couple of months I seemed to hit a plateau, and stopped using it.
Now, if you have been suffering from chronic eye strain (which is a major symptom of Irlen Syndrome, by the way), I want you to read this next bit carefully.
Could this be what’s missing?
I can’t remember exactly when – at least a year and a half ago – or why, but I found an article online that talked about how vitamin C concentrates in the eyes. Could I – the healthiest eater wherever I go – be deficient in vitamin C?
Some nutritional experts believe that everybody is, and should be taking a supplement, because the vitamin is highly unstable one and disintegrates into a puff of smoke if you look at it cross-eyed.
So I’m not the only healthy eater who is deficient in it. 😉
After doing some muscle testing, I started off taking five 500-mg capsules per day. A week later – I said, a week later – I was starting to be able to read books again (I hadn’t for a couple of years, which is why I originally bought a Kindle), could look at a computer screen longer, and was able to stay out in the sun longer (with my sunglasses) before beginning to feel discomfort.
My bowels got loose – a sign of C overdose – so I went down to four capsules a day for a while, then muscle-tested and found I only needed three.
My life is back to normal
Last year, when we moved, I had to drive my car on a sunny day for two and a half hours. Before taking the vitamin C, I got a headache if I drove longer than fifteen minutes – even on an overcast day! Last summer I was outside several hours a day, with no pain or later inability to read or look at a computer screen. I went back to reading print books! 🙂 Believe me, having eyes that work correctly make life a lot simpler!
Overall, I’ve been doing much better; however, after overdoing it on the computer and writing a couple of weeks ago, my eyes felt continually heavy for a few days. I decided to get back on the Eyebright formula again – maybe I will get into a routine like two weeks on, three weeks off or something – because my gut instinct told me it would help.
I’ll keep you updated.
In the meantime, if you are wanting to know how to heal severe eyestrain, let me ask you a question: have you tried supplementing with vitamin C yet? Make sure it’s the Ester C – I take Solgar Ester-C – because it is more bioavailable than other types of vitamin C and also will not upset your stomach like other C’s can do.
P.S. – Notice how my blog background is a kind of creamy peach color? That’s for my fellow Irlen Syndrome clan – reading text on a stark white background is a strain for most of us. You’re welcome. 😉