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Color-filtering lenses may help dyslexics

Posted Dec 19 2011 7:30am 1 Comment

confirming the claims of the lenses’ British inventor and the company that started selling them here in September.

As soon as Max Klinger, , got glasses with the special lenses, “all he wanted to do is read,” his mother Michelle Klinger said. “He told me the letters stopped moving; they stopped popping out for him. He went from a child who hated reading to asking, ‘Can we go buy chapter books?’”

Although Max, 6, has worn the lenses only a month, “I see a huge difference,” his mother said Tuesday. “His behavior is completely different. I see a confident child, excited to go to school, excited to read. That’s the only change we’ve made.”

Optician and researcher David Harris However, he found that by altering the wavelength of light that reaches the eye, that make reading a chore for many people with dyslexia, a learning disability often linked to poor academic performance. On his website, Harris says the lenses can help some of the 1 in 5 people with reading disorders, especially the 74 percent of dyslexia sufferers with visual distortions.

ChromaGen Vision lenses, available as prescription contacts or eyeglasses that resemble gray-tinted sunglasses, incorporate combinations of 16 color filters. Since the company launched its U.S. sales campaign in September, about 100 eye specialists in 30 states have been dispensing them, said ChromaGen Vision CEO Ted Edwards Jr. Certified providers, who have undergone about an hour of online training and paid $1,500 for kits to test the lenses on patients, have prescribed them to about 500 U.S. patients so far.

Insurance plans don’t cover eyewear with the ChromaGen lenses. tinted contact lenses “about half that,” said company spokeswoman Nicole Cottrill. . Several doctors will waive that fee for patients not helped by the lenses, Cottrill said.

Patient anecdotes have been the strongest driver of sales for  ChromaGen Vision website , based in Kennett Square, Pa. that many experts maintain is more neurological than eye-related and is often hard to differentiate from other disorders. Some also cite the lack of peer-reviewed studies establishing ChromaGen lenses’ effectiveness.

During a diagnostic exam, patients are asked to read aloud from a page of words printed in black on a white background. Eye doctors use trial-and-error to determine which combination of color filters – – i

Mike Berta, 39, of Billings, Mont., made a special trip to Philadelphia with his two dyslexic sons to see Harris nearly five years ago and was so pleased after Harris fitted all three of them with tinted glasses that he’s become an independent rep in four states. ChromaGen lenses haven’t been an automatic sell, he said. “I have quite a few docs that are really taking a hard look at it. A lot of them don’t believe in it. That’s been the tough part of it–getting them to have some of their patients come in and get them tested.”

When Harris tested Maxwell Berta, now a 19-year-old college student, and Sam Berta, now a 14-year-old eighth grader, “it was just very emotional,” their father said. When Maxwell first put on the lenses, “he told me that was the first time he ever looked at a sheet of paper where .”

Belinda Ewing, 48, of Meeker, Okla., informed she was dyslexic around age 7, was placed in special ed classes and told “there was nothing for it.” Her long-term boyfriend Ken Danforth, 61, says that her dyslexia was so bad when the two met that “she even spoke some words backwards.” A friend referred her to an optometrist in Shawnee, Okla., who worked with ChromaGen lenses.

“When she put the glasses on, she read about five times as much as when she didn’t have the glasses on,” Danforth said. They lenses have made Ewing comfortable reading in public and “able to participate more in life, too.” Because she and Danforth are on disability, the friend arranged for Ewing to get the glasses free as “a favor,” Danforth said.

With such testimonials, ChromaGen’s Edwards downplayed the need for scientific studies to establish the lenses’ effectiveness. When they work, he said, the effect “is immediate. in the UK wearing these things for 10 years.”

However, an optometrist who recently completed , said he “Even if we have proof of the effectiveness of the lens, we’re not going to completely understand the physiology of how it works,” said  Dr. Mitchell M. Scheiman, director of pediatric and binocular vision programs at the Pennsylvania College of Optometry in West Chester, Pa . Edwards said the FDA is reviewing protocols for a larger study at the college to establish the lenses’ value specifically for dyslexia.

In the single published, peer-reviewed U.S. study to date, , the authors reported in the October 1999 issue of the Journal of the American Optometric Association. Harris, who continues investigating new uses of the lenses disorders such as multiple sclerosis, currently runs  The Harris Foundation  in Kent, England, which since 2009 has provided the filtered lenses free to disadvantaged children.

Another approach to making reading easier for dyslexics involves altering what’s on the page. Christian Boer, a dyslexic Dutch graphic artist, has developed Dyslexie, a font that slightly alters the appearance of letters to make them more readable. It’s among several special fonts for dyslexic patients, including Lexia readable and Gill Dyslexic.

Via ABC News: Color-Filtering Lenses: Better Reading for Dyslexics?

Comments (1)
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ChromaGen lenses of been in the news lately as they've entered the US market. I understand the difficulties of having a proper scientific study and their use of anecdotal evidence. what I disagree with is their lack of financial guarantee.See Right Dyslexia Glasses are a competitive product that actually has a money back guarantee.

ChromGen would have you believe that 74% of dyslexics suffer from visual distortions .The implication is that 74% of dyslexics would benefit from their lenses . That is a much higher number than is generally accepted by dyslexia researchers and is likely to lead to a high failure rate.

Research with See Right Dyslexia Glasses has indicated that the best way to identify who will benefit from visual interventions is simply to ask if the individual can describe visual problems that make reading difficult. Being able to describe visual problems that make reading difficult indicates that a real visual problem exists. See Right Dyslexia Glasses are very effective at removing the described visual problems that make reading difficult.

In addition to the expense of needing a personal evaluation, ChromaGen's method has difficulties with identifying problems caused by multiple wavelengths of light . See Right Dyslexia Glasses uses a different approach and are designed as universal visual dyslexia filters. By filtering out all the problem causing wavelengths of light at the same time the need for the expensive personal evaluation is eliminated which greatly reduces the cost as well as the problem of dealing with multiple problematic wavelengths of light.

Because See Right Dyslexia Glasses have eliminated the need for the personal evaluation, effectively eliminate described visual problems that make reading difficult, cost approximately 25% of ChromaGen lenses , can be purchased online at and have a money back guarantee for any reason , it is hard to argue that they are not the better choice.

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