Chromagen Lenses and Dyslexia...who knew!
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!
Have you heard of Chromagen Lenses
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.
Some Recent News Reports on Chromagen Lenses
- Seeing the future: Lenses correct more than just nearsightedness and farsightedness | Times Free Pre
Mary Ellen Ciganovich has no definite medical answer why working on a computer initiates a multiple sclerosis attack in her.
- Simple fix for reading problems - 13 WTHR Indianapolis
A simple fix to an age-old problem - reading comprehension. There can be many causes, but one local family said the fix was as simple as a colored filter.