Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dyslexia: ChromaGen lenses offer hope to some with reading disorders

Many endure hours of expensive tutoring or special education to manage the learning difficulty.

A dyslexic may see words in a very confusing way: Letters might appear to be backwards, upside-down, jumbled up, or jump off the page.

"It just gave me headaches," said 12-year old Sullivan Sheahan. "I would zone out and then I would try to focus too hard and then I would start seeing double and the words would get blurry."

That was before Sullivan slipped on a pair of special shades.

ChromaGen lenses are coloured filters that change the wavelength of light going into the eyes. In dyslexics, some experts believe both eyes don't process information at the same speed.

"The lenses work by synchronising the information between the left and the right eyes, so that it arrives at the brain in a synchronised fashion," explained inventor David Harris. "In that way, it makes reading easier for many people who have difficulty reading."

ChromaGen Lenses were developed at the Corneal Laser Centre for colour blindness at Clattersbridge Hospital, Wirral. The Lens is similar to ordinary soft contact lenses, but has a tiny speck of colour that is almost invisible.
Harris originally invented the lenses for people with colour-blindness. Then, eye doctors in England saw success in certain people with reading disorders.

On this side of the pond in Plano, Dr. Charles Shidlofsky decided to give ChromaGen lenses a try for some of his young patients.

"We have heard from kids who say, 'I see words in rivers,'" Dr. Shidlofsky said. "What happens is, you put on the glasses and the 'rivers' stop and they finally see the words standing still, so they are better able to view the words and read the words more efficiently."

The glasses are not a cure; some critics question if they help at all.

A pair of ChromaGen lenses will cost more than $700, and they are not covered by insurance. Many people spend thousands of dollars on various dyslexia treatments and tutoring.

The lenses made a big difference to Sullivan Sheahan.

"When I got them, the first six weeks I made straight A's," he said.

Sullivan plans to take his glasses all the way to the honor roll next year, in 7th grade.

You can find a list of these by going to our Online Directory, click on the assessment / test your requirements, which is on the left hand of the screen, and then click on the area you require.

Read more here about the NIH Paper Titled: The ChromaGen contact lens system: colour vision test results and subjective responses

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