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Eyesight is not linked to dyslexia: research

By John von Radowitz

Published 26/05/2015

Experts found no evidence that visual deficiencies are linked to severe cases of 'word blindness'
Experts found no evidence that visual deficiencies are linked to severe cases of 'word blindness'

Correcting vision problems in children with dyslexia is unlikely to have any effect on the condition, new research has shown.

In the first study of its kind, scientists found no evidence that visual deficiencies are linked to severe cases of "word blindness".

The results call into question the value of common private treatments that can cost parents thousands of pounds.

Alternative therapists who focus on eyesight to treat dyslexia typically charge £100 to £200 for an initial consultation. Thereafter the package of treatment can cost hundreds or even thousands of pounds.

Many experts had already cast doubt on the effectiveness of the therapies, which typically involve the use of coloured lenses and overlays and eye exercises.

The new research, published in the journal Pediatrics, tested whether the supposed connection between dyslexia and eyesight problems was based on fact or just a myth.

Lead author Dr Cathy Williams, from the University of Bristol, said: "We want to spread the word that if you look at a whole population of children with dyslexia, very few of them have vision problems.

"Some practitioners feel that vision impairments may be associated with dyslexia and should be treated. However, our study results show that the majority of dyslexic children have entirely normal vision on the tests we used.

"Families now might want to ask: what visual impairment is actually being treated, how is it measured, and what is the evidence that treating it will help a child with dyslexia?"

Belfast Telegraph

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