False Claims Mislead About Dyslexia Treatment

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August 2013

By Kristen L. Penczek, M.A.

In recent months, articles have surfaced claiming that ChromaGen colored lenses have been FDA approved for the treatment of Dyslexia. While the lenses have been approved to aid in the treatment of visual problems, they have not been approved to treat Dyslexia.

Although some individuals with Dyslexia may also have visual difficulties, Dyslexia is not primarily a vision problem; it is a language-based problem that is neuro-biological in origin and cannot be treated by visual aids. It is important to understand the difference. There is a great deal of research and information available regarding vision and dyslexia and we urge you to review the following to stay abreast of the facts:

  • Learning Disabilities, Dyslexia, and Vision: This report was published in Pediatrics, Official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, in 2011.  It succinctly explains that while individuals can have learning disabilities as well as visual difficulty, one does not cause the other, nor does treating one improve the other.
  • Visual System Differences in Dyslexia Do Not Cause Reading Problems: This article, originally published in the July 2013 issue of IDA’s monthly newsletter, The Examiner, reviews new research  findings that were made public earlier this summer.
  • Dyslexia: The Eyes Don’t Have It:  For those attending the Annual Reading, Literacy & Learning Conference in New Orleans, November 6-9, 2013, there is a fascinating session focusing on this topic. Dr. Sheryl Handler, Chairman of the American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus Learning Disabilities Task Force, along with Dr. Walter Fierson, Vice-chairman of the American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus Learning Disabilities Task Force, and Dr. A. Melinda Rainey, Section Chief, Dell Children’s Eye Center of Central Texas and American Association of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus Learning Disabilities Task Force, will present the session:

F25: Dyslexia: The Eyes Don’t Have It
This session will give a comprehensive summary of the latest information on reading, dyslexia, and the role of vision. Controversial topics including the Magnocellular Deficit Theory, Scotopic Sensitivity, and Behavioral Optometric Theories, will be discussed. Commonly promoted therapies including colored lenses and filters, low-power lenses, and vision therapy, will be reviewed and examples shown. The participant will gain a thorough understanding of the issues and controversies and how to examine and interpret research regarding vision and dyslexia.

  • FDA Approval of ChromaGen Colored Lenses: According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they cleared ChromaGen’s Reading Aid & Color Discrimination Enhancement, Spectacle Lenses for market for the indications for use as stated below in 2002.  They were not cleared for the treatment or remediation of Dyslexia or other learning disabilities.INDICATIONS FOR USE:
    • Prescribed for the correction of refractive ametropia (myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism) in aphakic and not-aphakic persons.
    • Prescribed as a colored filter to aid individuals who experience reading discomfort not related to binocular vision problems or uncorrected refractive error.
    • Prescribed to enhance color discrimination in patients with protan or deutan (red-green) color vision deficiencies

Click Here to review the official clearance from the FDA.

IDA filed a non-emergency report with the FDA this month regarding the claims that the lenses are FDA approved to treat dyslexia.

Kristen Penczek is the Interim Executive Director, Director of Conferences and Managing Editor for The Examiner at IDA.

Copyright © 2015 International Dyslexia Association (IDA). We encourage sharing of Examiner articles. If portions are cited, please make appropriate reference. Articles may not be reprinted for the purpose of resale. Permission to republish this article is available frominfo@interdys.org.