If you or your child suffer from blurred or moving text, letter swapping or any other of the symptoms listed, this could be your lucky day. In fact, what you are about to read may be helpful if you or your child suffer from one of the following:
- Reading and learning problems
- ADD, ADHD, Autism or Asperger Syndrome
- Behavioral or emotional problems
- Headaches, migraines, fatigue or other physical symptoms
- Light Sensitivity (Photophobia)
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI), whip lash or concussions
- Certain medical and visual conditions
But let's start with a story.
I have always been more auditory than visual. In class, I would listen to my teachers, ask questions and remember what I heard. It was not much use giving me a book to read for knowledge (although I loved reading stories). I would ask some who had read it to "just tell me" what they got out of it.
At the end of high school, I returned from 6 months as an exchange student abroad and had to prepare for some final exams. I got Ronit to read me her notes (she had superb notes, mind you, and I certainly enjoyed being with her and listening to her) and passed the exams with annoying success for those who had been in class for 6 months prior.
When I got to university, I had to read and write a lot more and was surprised to get splitting headaches after one page. After that, I got very little out of continuing to read, not to mention it was torture. Again, I got through it by spending a lot of time with my study group and engaging them in discussions about the material, as well as by always attending lectures.
Then, I decided I would have my eyes checked.
It turned out I had slight far-sight and slight astigmatism, so I got a pair of glasses. I could see better with them, but I was still tired at the end of the day and nearly always had a headache in the evening.
After a few years, I decided not to wear my glasses anymore. I did eye exercises and forced myself to read without glasses for a couple of months while on a long break and never put them back on again. Except I was still reading very slowly and my eyes would be the first part of me to "call it a day".
A couple of years ago, I found out about Behavioral Optometry while looking for a way to help my son see better in class. Recently, I decided to find out if there was anything this field of science can do for me too.
I went "to have my eyes checked", but Peter the optometrist kept saying to me, "We don't see with our eyes. We see with our brain, so you're actually having your brain checked".
He got me to read from the usual letter chart and then tried on a few lenses, while asking questions about my lifestyle and the kind of vision I was experiencing. I told him it was as if the letters were floating in front of my eyes and I could not "get a lock" on the text I was reading.
"The lines seem to be floating, like little waves", I said.
He slipped the green lens into the special lens-holding-thingamajig. "How about now?" he asked.
I was amazed! The lines lay there on the page and hardly moved anymore. "Much better", I said, "The lines have almost stopped moving".
Peter tested a purple lens, then a blue lens and then some combinations of lenses, but the green one seemed to do the job. I got the same results when the lines were at different angles and intersected in the middle of the page.
"What's so special about this lens?" I asked him, "When you put that green lens in front of my eyes, it's like my brain relaxes".
"Well, there are two parts to our vision - the fast, inaccurate peripheral vision and the slow, focused central vision. When we read, the fast vision jumps to the next part and then the slow vision reads it. Some people's brains are sensitive to certain wavelengths of light and the two parts of their vision get out of sync", Peter explained, "Your brain works very hard to compensate for this, but it's very likely you don't remember too much of what you read and have to re-read a lot".
"Exactly right", I said.
"It's a form of Dyslexia", Peter surprised me, "Luckily for you, I've used colored lenses to help many people who thought they had Dyslexia. They put on their new glasses and all of a sudden they can read almost like normal people".
Did you get this?! Colored lenses can help with Dyslexia!
"I have to tell the world about this", I thought, and here we are.
As it turns out, there is even a name for this method - Irlen Method.
On the websites below, you can see demonstrations of how a dyslexic sees. If this is you, this will help you "zoom in" on your specific issue. If this is your child, the sites will give you ways of getting to the bottom of their problems and … overcome them!
- http://irlen.com/index.php - main website for Irlen the method. Use the little colored squares to change the page background and see which one you like best
- http://www.dyslexiaservices.com.au/ - Australian site with an excellent demonstration of various vision problem
- http://www.dyslexia-test.com/color.html - more background colors and a better method of changing them to test your own vision
- http://www.health4youonline.com/article_dyslexia.htm - famous people you know with colored lenses and related nutrition information
If this helps you or your child, please come back and post your story in the comment box. There is nothing more inspiring and encouraging to other parents than genuine testimonials of parents who have been in their situation and gotten out of it.
To infinity and beyond!