At Zacks Eye Clinic in central London (W1) we often see patients with dyslexia. Optometrists cannot diagnose dyslexia but we can provide help with poor binocular control and visual stress experienced by some patients with dyslexia and other learning difficulties. The most common symptoms of these conditions are eye strain and headaches produced by visual distortions such as movement, fading or blurring of print. Children may not mention these symptoms if they assume them to be normal. Our dyslexia eye sight test describes a battery of tests which are additional to a regular eye examination to assess these conditions.
We recommend that all children undergo regular eye sight tests. A routine eye examination is important to ensure that symptoms are not attributable to unrelated problems within the visual system such as uncorrected refractive error or undiagnosed pathology. If concerns remain, a series of further tests to assess weakness in focusing or binocular control as well as the effect of colour tints on reading speed are recommended.
‘Putting on the new prescriptions for the 1st time was fantastic, no more eye strain. A relief!’
Ocular Health & Dyslexia
No correlation has been found between pathology and dyslexia but cases have been reported where visual symptoms associated with eye disease have been mistakenly assumed by the patients to relate to dyslexia.
Refraction & Dyslexia
Children with dyslexia or reading difficulties may benefit greatly from spectacles or contact lenses to correct refractive errors. Significant refractive errors left uncorrected during critical periods of development (up to age 8-10) may result in amblyopia (permanently impaired vision).
Binocular Vision, Accommodation & Dyslexia
Research has shown some correlations between binocular vision disorders and specific learning difficulties. The most common issues involve problems with focussing close up (accommodation), changing the position of focus or moving the eyes in and out (convergence & divergence) so that they are well aligned. Exercises and spectacles can help to treat most of these conditions.
Coloured Tints & Dyslexia
Placebo controlled studies have shown that some people with symptoms of visual stress, benefit form using a colour tint. Visual stress affects a minority of people with learning difficulties. The condition is sometimes referred to as Meares-Irlen syndrome or scotopic sensitivity syndrome. The tint required is specific for each individual and requires careful selection. Prescribed tints are only recommended if there are proven benefits. The symptoms of Meares Irlen syndrome are easily confused with those arising from the conditions outlined above so refractive errors and binocular or accommodative abnormalities should be treated first. Coloured overlays are given initially, then Chromagen tints may be incorporated into spectacles or contact lenses.
Dyslexia Eye Sight Test & Aftercare
The initial consultation usually takes around one hour and follows an eye examination. If glasses, exercises or coloured overlays are recommended a follow up consultation may be recommended a few months later to review progress. Tinted lenses or contact lenses may then be prescribed if a sustained improvement in reading is reported after using coloured overlays.