Dyslexia glasses help Florida student read

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Hailey Cain can barely make out the words in books. She says the letters overlap, swim around, and pop out.

"I was reading really low and sometimes people would make fun of me," she said.

In third grade, Hailey was reading at a kindergarten level. Then she was diagnosed with dyslexia, impulses traveling from her eyes to the brain were not in sync between her two eyes. Teacher Cheryl Tullis tried everything-almost everything.

"I just couldn't justify teaching her phonics again for another 180 days when she had already done 4 years of school," said Tullis, a teacher at Shore Acres Elementary School in St. Petersburg.

So, Tullis told Hailey's mom Telsea Galbraith to try specialty tinted lenses called ChromaGen lenses.

"I was skeptical in the beginning myself," Galbraith said.

The lenses keep the words from popping out of the page and overlapping each other.

"I saw my daughter go from being somewhat reclusive and not having any self-esteem to being able to pick up a book like a regular classmate and start to read," Galbraith said.

After Hailey got the lenses in January she jumped from reading 30 words per minute at a kindergarten level to 60 words per minute at a second grade level.

"She doubled her score. She hit the 60's for words per minute," explained Dr. Victoria Melcher, Optometrist, Eye Designs Visions.

Melcher says ChromaGen is a series of colored filters that change the wavelength of light entering the eye.

"The information reaching the brain is synchronized between the two eyes," Melcher said.

Now, Hailey, who is 11 years old,  can finally read a book that's meant for her, not a 5-year-old.

The ChromaGen lenses can cost about $800 and they are typically not covered by insurance.

Additional Information:

Dyslexia is a learning disorder characterized by difficulty reading.  It is also called specific reading disability and is a common learning disability in children.  Dyslexia occurs in children with normal vision and intelligence.  It is a lifelong condition caused by inherited traits that affect how the brain operates.  However, most children who are diagnosed can be successful in school with tutoring or a specialized education program.  (Source: www.mayoclinic.org)

SYMPTOMS: Dyslexia symptoms can be difficult to recognize before children enter school, but early clues may show a problem.  The problem often becomes apparent as children begin to learn to read.  Signs that a young child may be at risk of dyslexia include: late talking, difficulty rhyming, and learning new words slowly.  Once a child is in school, dyslexia symptoms may include:

  • Reading at a level below the expected level for the age of the child
  • Difficulty comprehending rapid instructions
  • Problems remembering the sequence of things
  • Trouble following more than one command at a time
  • Problems processing and understanding what he or she hears
  • Difficulty seeing similarities and differences in letters and words

Dyslexia symptoms in teenagers and adults are similar to those in children.  Though early intervention is best for dyslexia treatment, it's never too late to seek help.  Some common symptoms in teens and adults include: reading out loud, difficulty reading, trouble understanding jokes or idioms, difficulty memorizing, difficulty summarizing a story, and difficulty with time management. (Source: http://www.ncld.org/types-learning-disabilities/dyslexia/what-is-dyslexia and www.mayoclinic.org)

CHROMAGEN LENSES:  ChromaGen lenses are a system of filters that help people with dyslexia read.  The lenses were originally for people who are color blind.    Today, ChromaGen is patented and FDA approved for the management of academic skills disorder an umbrella term that includes color deficiency (another term for color blindness), dyslexia, and related disabilities. When it comes to reading disorders, some researchers believe that there may be a problem with the large nerve cells that form a path from the eye to the brain and it is thought that the pathways differ in people with reading disorders from those without.  Doctors believe that the majority of people who have dyslexia see words that appear to be moving on the page in some way.  The fitting of ChromaGen lenses helps re-synchronize and selectivity change the speed of the information in the pathways to improve a patient's reading ability.  For dyslexics, the words no longer "jump" on the page.  (Source: http://www.medicaldaily.com/chromagen-lenses-help-dyslexia-patients-read-though-originally-made-color-blind-how-do-they-work)

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