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Chromagen Lenses and Dyslexia...who knew!

Updated on August 25, 2014

Before The Study

It was an ordinary day on Facebook. I 'liked' a few photos of friends' kids, read a few articles and played a daily Bejeweled Blitz game. Nothing exciting but, scrolling down, a friend had shared a news article about some glasses they were testing that were supposed to help with dyslexia.

Wait, my daughter has dyslexia. Could she possibly qualify for this study? I read as much as I could about the product. The article discussed how colored and/or tinted lenses can help reading fluency. We've heard about tints before and have tried colored overlays but were never sure they quite worked.

Decided to fill out the application which included a section with questions for my daughter to answer. The questions were fairly detailed and wanted to know if words moved, floated, got blurry and that sort of thing. There were questions about headaches and other ailments. My daughter responded to each question and I submitted the form online.

I was amazed to hear back the next day that she qualified for the study. At first I thought to myself, "Oh, I bet they are just qualifying everybody," but, then found out I had a friend who was told her son didn't qualify. He has dyslexia but he does have different 'symptoms' than my daughter. Our first appointment was scheduled a few weeks out and was over an hour away but we were in! We were both excited but, must admit, I still thought, she won't qualify. The study would consist of a first appointment with various stations of testing to make sure she qualified. If she did, she'd be able to pick out her frames and lenses. Also found out that these lenses can run about $1000 but they would be free to anybody in the study. I so much wanted her to be a good candidate for this study!

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What are Chromagen lenses?

With dyslexia, it appears as if the eyes are not processing information at the same speed. This can cause the jumping words and moving lines my daughter sees as well as headaches, nausea and other problems. Chromagen lenses actually use a different tint for each eye (but not very noticeable unless you look closely). Somehow the different tints allow the eyes to adjust and filter everything somewhat equally.

Do a search on Google News for Chromagen lenses and read the stories. After reading the stories, I was so excited to have my daughter take part in this study. Still, in the back of my mind, I just thought it really, probably would not work for us. How wrong I was!

The Day of the Study

Our drive to the study took about an hour and a half but, thankfully, we left really early. When we arrived, we saw a news crew following kids around and there were certainly a lot of kids there.

We began by submitting paperwork then my daughter was taken to a table where the assistant went over her questionnaire with her and asked more questions. She moved on to the next stations so so far so good. I think she ended up visiting about six different stations and, with all the kids, it took almost four hours. They did a vision exam. They examined her current lenses. She was given a portion of the Woodcock Johnson which checks for reading disorders and dyslexia. At about her fourth station, they did a reading fluency exam with her current lenses and then with the new Chromagen lenses. The evaluator came out with a huge smile and said she did great. After that, at each station, evaluators would making comments about how she was perfect for these lenses. I was excited. She picked out her frames and lenses. She opted for lenses that were a bit darker and frames in a pretty shade of dark blue. We found out along the way that of the kids that were selected, a number of them would be getting placebos...oh no! We wanted the real thing.

So, of course, on the way home, I grilled my daughter and she said that reading seemed quite a bit easier with the lenses and the words stopped floating. Good news indeed!

The Glasses Arrive

Still being oh so skeptical of all of this, when the glasses arrived, I kept wondering if they could be placebos. Because of my daughter's dyslexia, wehomeschool so I definitely know my daughters quirks with reading. Neither one of us were sure. I should have just done a fluency test but it was the end of our school year and we just decided to see what would happen.

Have to say, the girl looked sharp in her glasses. They look like sunglasses and people are always complementing her on her frames. Yes, the tint is a little different on each side but most people don't even notice until it is mentioned and only then do they look closely.

She started wearing them all the time rather than her regular glasses. She said it was easier to watch television and she thought reading might be easier as well. She received a lot of compliments on her new lenses but, knowing the cost, I'd only let her wear them at home. I didn't want them breaking.



New ChromaGen Lenses help Reading Disorders such as Dyslexia

Reporting Back for Our Final Study

I was still nervous these were only a placebo but I was told that, if they were, she would receive a real pair at the end of the study. I know the mind is powerful and placebos can really alter the way we perceive something is working so I just wondered if our minds had 'tricked' us into believing everything was better.

So, we drove back, only an hour this time (no traffic!). Again, she went through her stations. She answered questions. They checked reading fluency and sent us back to the main desk. All in all, the study only took an hour this time. "Congratulations," they said. "Your daughter had the read deal and, not only that, her reading fluency improved by 30%!" They had also redone the questionnaire while my daughter wore the glasses and compared results. They said the lower the score on the second test, the more they could tell the glasses were working. Her score dropped by a lot. They said she was perfect for these glasses. The glasses were ours to keep and thank you!

I just have to add I have worked with my daughter for a number of years now on reading fluency. I'm her teacher. I know her limits, her capabilities, her frustrations with reading. I know her. This is no placebo. You don't get a 30% increase in reading fluency (which I have since verified with our own tests that we use) with a placebo. I am no longer a skeptic. I am a huge, HUGE fan!

After the Study

My daughter wears her Chromagens everywhere now. She loves them and is so careful with them. At this point, she very much considers them a prized possession. She says that so much of what she does is easier with her new glasses and, now that she is back studying, I do see the difference. Her reading is definitely more fluid now.

I couldn't be happier.

Will these lenses work for everybody? No, unfortunately not. We did have another friend qualify for the study but the lenses did not seem to help. There was no increase in reading fluency and her daughter didn't like wearing them. As with our other friend, though, her daughter's symptoms are different than my daughter's and she has not been diagnosed with dyslexia.

Could these lenses work for you or your child? Only one way to know. Find an ophthalmologist in your area who works with these glasses. They can do the exam and determine right then and there if your child is a good fit for these glasses.

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    • Cari Kay 11 profile image
      Author

      Kay 2 years ago

      Thank you so much. I just love anything that helps my daughter and we really have seen such improvement with these lenses. Now just hopeful they never break LOL

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 2 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      I hadn't heard of chromagen glasses but these sound brilliant! Thank you for sharing the story of your daughter's testing and thank you for sharing your very handy information with all of us! Voted useful.

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image
      Author

      Kay 2 years ago

      Thank you so much!

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Look at all these comments. Congrats on your first hub! Looking forward to more. Welcome.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 2 years ago from North America

      I do not know anyone who uses them, but I am going to suggest them to a few people as a possibility.

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image
      Author

      Kay 2 years ago

      Patty, have you heard of these glasses before or do you know somebody who has used them?

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 2 years ago from North America

      We used to put colored transparent sheet protectors over pages of text to make reading easier and it seemed to work somewhat; but, these glasses are awesome!

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image
      Author

      Kay 2 years ago

      Thank you Carlo for your comment. Honestly, can't help you. I don't know the research behind this. I can tell you that for my daughter there is no doubt it helps. I pulled her out of school in second grade due to dyslexia. They were losing her and, on her yearly standardized test, she was testing so low. I've worked hard with her. In second grade we did three different language arts programs and I took her all the way back to preschool level phonics. Reading fluency has been a big part of what we do in homeschool so I'm very aware of her capabilities. There is no way a placebo could cause that sort of increase. Don't get me wrong, we've worked very hard and her reading fluency has gone up. She's a hard worker and a smart cookie but I know her limitations. Also, when she reads to me now, it is so fluid. Before she would skip around and when questioned, she would say the lines would move and make it so difficult to follow. She's not doing that now. I also know people who have had success with the colored overlays and I just think this is that same sort of concept. So, while I'm not up on the studies nor the debates, I'm just thankful because these lenses really have made a difference for my daughter.

    • profile image

      Carlo Aleci 2 years ago

      Happy for your daughter, but as a neuro-ophtalmologist involved in visual dyslexia I am a bit skeptical on the true effectiveness of such devices, in line with institutions like the American Academy of Ophthalmology. What is the mechanism underlying reading improvement? What would have been the result had your daughter been administered a placebo? Where are published the results of survey? You see, There is a lot of debate about this topic.

      Different rehabilitation protocols have been advanced , based on firm rational bases, like the one who aims at reducing the lateral masking, i.e the interference between adjoining letters, or the monocular occlusion.

      If you're interested, browse my website www. Visualeci. Com

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image
      Author

      Kay 2 years ago

      Her self esteem definitely took a nose dive and that is why we ended up homeschooling. Thankfully, she has excelled since then and her self esteem is much improved. No doubt these glasses help though :)

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thanks for sharing this important message about the Chromagen lenses that have helped your daughter. It's impressive that they improved her vision and reading by that much. This will make such an incredible difference in not only her reading perception, but also her self esteem and willingness to tackle new things that require visual acuity.

    • DealForALiving profile image

      Sam Deal 2 years ago from Earth

      That's fantastic that these lenses resulted in an improvement! and 30% at that~

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

      How interesting and exciting! I hadn't read about ChromaGen lenses, but we haven't had a problem with dyslexia in our family. I'm very near-sighted and have a rather complicated eyeglass prescription, so I'm very interested in anything that helps anyone see - and especially read - better. I'm very thankful that these are working so well with your daughter.

    • Pawpawwrites profile image

      Jim 2 years ago from Kansas

      That is pretty cool. I've never heard of them.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 2 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      Wow what an interesting hub on dyslexia. In Holland it is called Leesblind, and I was diagnosed during the fifties, but there was nothing that could be done. I have written an hub on my own experiences. my problems were more with writing, not reading.

    • Rhonda Lytle profile image

      Rhonda Lytle 2 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

      Wow. 30% is huge. I'm so happy for your daughter the glasses are helping. As a former teacher with dyslexia myself, I bet you will see her rate of fluency start to skyrocket very soon. I've seen other students that when things clicked, they really took off accomplishing things no one thought they could. This was really cool of you to share.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 2 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Wow, that's pretty amazing. I'm so glad you learned of this study and your daughter benefited so much!

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image
      Author

      Kay 2 years ago

      I know...30% That still blows me away!

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 2 years ago from Minnesota

      A 30% increase in reading fluency is remarkable. No, I had not heard about these lenses before this. Great article about some very great news, Cari!

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thanks for sharing. Very worthwhile information. ;-)

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