People with specific learning difficulties have problems with certain areas of academic performance, yet do well in other subjects and are generally intelligent.

The most common type of specific learning difficulty is specific reading difficulty; and this is often called “Dyslexia”. Children with Dyslexic are usually poor at reading and spelling and may seem intelligent in conversation, but have trouble with written language.

Leonardo da Vinci and Einstein are both thought to have been dyslexic.

Dyslexia can only be diagnosed with certainty by an educational psychologist who, in addition to other Dyslexia tests will calculate a person`s expected reading age from their IQ and physical age. The difference between this and the actual reading age, as measured with a reading test, gives a measure of the reading difficulty. The term DYSLEXIA is usually reserved for a degree of reading difficulty.

The educational psychologist would also ensure that poor reading was not secondary to another problem, such as inadequate schooling or low intelligence. Psychological assessment can be arranged through your school, or privately through a local Dyslexia Institute.

Vision and Dyslexia

Most experts agree that problems with sight are not usually a main source of Dyslexia. Certain visual problems, however, do occur more often in dyslexia. These may, in some cases, contribute to the reading difficulty. These visual problems would not normally be detected in a school eye test.

The most common visual anomalies in dyslexia are a reduced ability to focus close to and poor or unstable co-ordination of the two eyes (binocular instability). Several tests can detect binocular instability, and a modified Dunlop test may be used as part of the assessment.

These visual problems can cause eyestrain, visual stress, or distortions. This may slow reading and discourage children from prolonged reading.

Not all dyslexic children and dyslexic adults have these visual problems but some have visual anomalies without realizing it. People with a mild specific learning difficulty, perhaps not bad enough to be called dyslexia, can also have these visual problems. The visual problems can usually be treated with simple eye exercises. In some cases, spectacles may be prescribed.

Dyslexia and Realeyes.

At Realeyes we run a special clinic for the Optometric assessment of people with a specific learning difficulty. An initial eye examination is required which will be charged at our usual rates or covered by NHS allowances.

A further appointment will then be arranged which will include specific additional tests to look for the visual problems associated with dyslexia. The first appointment usually takes about 45 minutes, after which a program of treatment will be devised and the appropriate course of action explained. Follow up appointments will then be arranged according to the course of action.

Colour and Reading difficulties

There is growing evidence that some people with apparently normal eyesight, experience discomfort when reading a page of print. Some report that the words appear to “move”, “wobble” or “flicker” while others say that the page appears too bright or the words are too close together. This condition has become known as Meares-Irlen syndrome. Those affected by the condition may skip words or lines when reading. Others report “eyestrain” or headaches after reading.

For reasons that are poorly understood, these symptoms are often relieved by placing a coloured overlay over the print or by wearing coloured spectacles. The colour required to achieve the optimum relief varies between individuals and may change over time.

The Coloured Overlay Screener is a computer program designed to determine if someone is likely to benefit from using a coloured overlay while reading and helps to determine the optimum colour.

Unfortunately the cost of these special appointments is not covered by NHS eye examination fees and therefore we do need to charge for the time spent at these visits. Please ask for details of the current costs.

Many tests are necessary at the first examination but it is not usually appropriate to repeat all of these at follow-up appointments. Some people may be prescribed exercises which require additional equipment for use at home. In these cases an additional charge may be made for the equipment which will be explained at the time of the consultation.

If our findings suggest that a person may benefit from colour, then we issue them with a coloured overlay to try at home.