What’s it look like

What’s it look like.

I’ve been asked many times… What do dyslexics see when they look at pages?

We’ll I’m afraid the answer isn’t so simple, certainly in my case. Meares-Irlen Syndrome is a little difference for everyone but there are a few very common visual symptoms, some of which I experience but only with certain color schemes.

I’m lucky in that I don’t see letters and words move around on the page. Still, I read very slowly, mostly due to my tenancy to mix up and leave out words or lose my place. This isn’t due to any visual distortions that I’m consciously aware of. I don’t really know the reason for it, sometimes I just don’t see the words.

This is the most common symptom that I experience, referred to sometimes as ‘sparkle or washout’. Especially when I’m tired. It’s not actually a circle, I just illustrated it like that to exemplify that it centers around the words that I’m focusing on. This symptom is quite active and fades in and out. It’s much worse when I’m tired, stressed, or under some florescent lights. I almost always experience this symptom on a black on white color scheme.

Here is an example of another symptom ‘shadows’. I’ve tried to draw it exactly as I see it, it’s hard because the shadows move which is what makes it so distracting. So until I get better at animating, this is as close as I can get it.

This is usually described as ‘Rivers’, this is a fairly rare occurrence for me. I don’t get it with the brown on black scheme, more with red backgrounds. Again this is as close an example of what it looks like that I can render.

Those are some examples of the main symptoms that I experience. This is by no means a complete or comprehensive list. I know a guy for whom the letters turn to symbols on certain colour schemes, just to give you an idea of the diversity of the symptoms.

1 thought on “What’s it look like”

  1. And that guy would be me I’m guessing? “Symbols” is almost accurate, I basically stop recognizing the letters as what they are. They look like a shape with the appearance of the letter that they are, but my head removes the association of letter shape from that letter. I instead will see the shape of the letter and nothing else, its meaning escapes me.
    Additionally I also get the symptom you describe as rives, however it boarders every letter, making them blurred and merge together in the brightness that it causes.
    Like Derek I also have Irlen Syndrome, the colours that help vary from person to person, I have trouble with black on white as most do, but it worsens with black on blue (to the point where entire sentences become almost invisible to my awareness, I know something is there, but I can’t recognise the shape any longer.

    Nice little awareness article, Be nice to see some more comments from fellow sufferers to see what other symptoms people have.

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