Jean comments on dyslexia article

Recent press coverage of a study published in the USA looking at the relationship between vision deficiencies and dyslexia has passed doubt on the validity of colour when treating visual stress.

The study is titled “Ophthalmic abnormalities and reading impairment” and has been undertaken by Alexandra Creavin, Raghu Lingam, Colin Steer, and Cathy Williams. The study has taken a sample of children between 7 and 9 years of age and has concluded that a large majority of these children with specific learning disorder with visual impairment have normal vision. As such they concluded that there was no indication for routinely referring children diagnosed with specific reading impairment to an ophthalmologist or optometrist. They also questioned the effectiveness of colour therapy in improving outcomes for those with dyslexia.

The study chooses not to directly reference the extensive positive research into colour carried out over the past 20 years by a number of leading academics both in the UK and abroad.

A press release has been issued by Professor Bruce Evans Bsc PhD FCOptom Dip CLP Dip Orth FAAO FBCLA.

He is Director of Research, institute of Optometry, visiting Professor, Dept of Optometry and Visual Science, City University, London, Visiting Professor of Optometry, Faculty of Health and Social Care, London South Bank University.

He says:

“ At one level, the Paediatrics paper re confirms what has been known for many years: that visual factors are not a major cause of reading disability. Indeed, research funded by the college of Optometrists and published over 20 years ago made just this point. (Evans et al. 1994).

This research and many subsequent studies have identified subtle visual problems that co- occur with reading disability and which can cause symptoms such as blurring, eye strain or headaches when reading. Such problems may not cause the reading disability, but will add to the burden that the child experiences in the classroom. Treatment of such problems should not be expected to cure the reading disability, but make the child willing to read for longer and hence help indirectly. These problems are only present in a minority of children with reading disabilities.

Unfortunately the Paediatrics paper did not use tests appropriate to detect these problems.

Further the authors analysed their results inappropriately, reducing their test results to Pass / Fail based arbitrary or unstated criteria.

The Researches did not investigate visual stress which affects on third of people with reading disability and alleviated by coloured filters.

It is a great shame that in interpreting their results, the authors seem to only consider 2 options:

That visual problems either cause reading disability or are irrelevant to reading disability. Such extreme views were popular in 1970`s but nowadays most practitioners recognise that children who struggle at school need to have sensory factors ruled out as possible contributory factors eg testing of eyes and hearing. Also they should receive expert educational support which is the mainstay of managing reading disability.

Reading skills are multi factorial and therefore a multi- discipline approach to manage reading disability is advocated. “

Jean and Marie at Oldbury and Cruickshank says that

“we receive calls and E mails regularly telling us of children and adults we have seen and treated who have had huge improvements in reading levels and progress and some with life transformations by using coloured overlays and Precision tinted glasses.”

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