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Ever heard of visual dyslexia? |

Health And Family

Ever heard of visual dyslexia?

MOMMY TALK - MOMMY TALK By Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan -
Yes, there is such a thing as visual dyslexia. I learned about this through my optometrist, Dr. Cynthia del Mundo. She said that not all children who have been labeled as dyslexics are true dyslexics. Some of them have visual problems like refractive errors (wherein they need to wear glasses of a higher grade) or visual dyslexia. According to Dr. Cynthia, visual dyslexia is a condition not known or even understood by many, including eye care practitioners. When she trained in pediatric eye care and orthoptics in England, she learned about different tests that could be administered to young children to find out if, indeed, they have visual dyslexia. Among these tests are the Contrast Sensitivity Testing and the Dunlop Test.

There is a treatment for visual dyslexia. She cites a patient named Albert as an example. When he came to see Dr. Cynthia, he was failing in school. He also didn’t want to read and had a mild red-green color perception anomaly. Albert’s mom had to transfer him to another school, a special school so he could function well. Deep in her heart though, she knew there was something else that needed to be solved because Albert’s intelligence quotient was above average and his mom knew in her heart that he was an intelligent boy.

When he was examined for visual dyslexia, findings show that the cause for confusion and interchanging of letters came from his tendency to get cross-eyed whenever he reads letters that are near. He also had low contrast sensitivity and unfixed eye reference. Because of what the examination revealed, he was prescribed special reading glasses that prevented his eyes from getting crossed. A special yellow tint in the lenses helped improve the contrast of the print he was reading. Dr. Cynthia patched his one eye to help Albert develop a good eye reference and avoid confusing and crossing letters. After the treatment, Albert was able to go back to mainstream school and now has managed to be one of the top four students in his regular class. Amazing, isn’t it?

Dr. Cynthia encourages parents not to take for granted visual problems in their children. It’s not true at all that if a child passes vision screening and is able to see clearly, he does not have visual problems. She reminds parents that Vision tests determine how children see at a distance. When one says, "I have 20/20 vision," he means that he is able to see the smallest test letters at a distance of 20 feet. When a child studies his lessons, he must look at letters much nearer than 20 feet. Those routine eye examination tests do not include tests for near, especially if the patient is younger than 35-40 years old.

It’s one thing to be a true dyslexic, it’s another to have simple visual dyslexia. We learn something new every day.

Dr. Cynthia del Mundo is an optometrist, a pediatric optometrist and an orthoptist. She holds clinic at CHBC, St. Luke’s Medical Center. Together with husband Jade, Dr. Cynthia spearheaded the multi-specialty Headache Care Center on West Ave., Quezon City. She can be reached through the following numbers: 0917-5255-254 and 723-0101 local 5905.
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