Friday, 20 May 2016 17:35

RESEARCH ARTICLES

REVIEW OF RESEARCH ON THE USE OF COLOURED LENSES

While much of the early literature was unpublished and of poor scientific design, there are now numerous controlled studies which have reported positive results for the use of coloured lenses. These studies have all been reported in peer reviewed journals, using reviewers with expertise in this field, who are unlikely to recommend the publication of studies which are methodologically unsound. I have listed these studies below, with their full references attached. The largest number of controlled studies report improvement in reading when using coloured plastic overlays, coloured computer monitors, and one study which illuminates text with coloured light (Bouldoukian, Wilkins, & Evans, 2002; Chase, Ashourzadeh, Kelly, Monfette, & Kinsey, 2003; Croyle, 1998; Evans & Joseph, 2002; Jeanes, Busby, Martin, Lewis, Stevenson, Pointon et al., 1997; Kriss & Evans, 2005; Noble, Orton, Irlen, & Robinson, 2004; Northway, 2003; Ray, Fowler, & Stein, 2005; Scott, McWhinnie, Taylor, Stevenson, Irons, & Lewis, 2002; Singleton & Trotter, 2005; Solan, Brannan, Ficarra, & Byrne, 1997; Solan, Ficarra, Brannan, & Rucker, 1998; Tyrrell, Holland, Dennis, & Wilkins, 1995; Wilkins, Jeanes, Pumfrey, & Laskier, 1996; Wilkins & Lewis, 1999; Wilkins, Lewis, Smith, Rowland, & Tweedie, 2001; Williams, Le Cluyse, & Littell, 1996). There are also numerous studies which report improvements in eye strain, headaches and reading when using coloured lenses (Chronicle & Wilkins, 1991; Evans, Patel, & Wilkins, 2002; Good, Taylor, & Mortimer, 1991; Harris & MacRow-Hill, 1999; Lightstone, Lightstone, &  Wilkins, 1999; Robinson & Conway, 2000; Robinson & Foreman, 1999; Wilkins, 1993; Wilkins, Patel, Adjamian, & Evans, 2002). In particular, the paper by Chase et al. (2003), describes a series of four studies which found that the accuracy of oral reading was poorer when using red filters in comparison to blue and green filters. These results were used to support physiological evidence that red light suppresses functioning of the Magnocellular visual neural pathway, with reading being better when longer wavelengths of light (red) are removed from the light source by the use of blue filters. A number of these studies have used placebo controls (Bouldoukian et al., 2002; Evans & Joseph, 2002; Jeanes et al., 1997; Ray et al., 2005; Robinson & Foreman, 1999; Wilkins, Evans, Brown, Busby, Wingfield, Jeanes, & Bald, 1994; Wilkins & Lewis, 1999; Wilkins et al., 2002). Such placebo studies are possible because the effects of coloured filters can be assessed without subjects being aware of the precise chromacity of the colour which provides optimal results for them(Wilkins, Huang, & Cao, 2004). In addition, people who respond to the use of colour are also likely to have abnormalities in accommodation (Simmers, Gray, & Wilkins, 2001), significant changes in visual evoked potentials when using coloured filters (Huang, Cooper, Satana, Kaufman, & Cao, 2003; Riddell, Wilkins, Zemori, Gordon, & Hainline, 1998) as well as differences in biochemical profiles (Robinson, Roberts, McGregor, Dunstan, & Butt, 2001; Sparkes, Robinson, Dunstan, & Roberts, 2003; Sparkes, Robinson, Roberts, & Dunstan, 2006), all of which could not be attributed to placebo effects.

 

REFERENCES

Bouldoukian, J., Wilkins, A. J., & Evans, B. J. W. (2002). Randomised controlled trial of the effect of coloured overlays on the rate of reading of people with specific learning difficulties. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 22, 55-60.

Chase, C., Ashourzadeh, A., Kelly, C., Monfette, S., & Kinsey, K. (2003). Can the magnocellular pathway read? Evidence from studies of colour. Vision Research, 43, 1211-1222. Chronicle, E. P. & Wilkins, A. J. (1991).

Colour and visual discomfort in migraineurs. The Lancet, 338, 890.

Croyle, L. (1998). Rate of reading, visual processing, colour and contrast. Australian Journal of Learning Disabilities, 3(3), 13-20

Evans, B. J. W., & Joseph, F. (2002). The effect of coloured filters on the rate of reading in an adult study population. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 22, 525-535.

Evans, B. J. W., Patel, R., & Wilkins A. J. (2002). Optometric function in visually sensitive migraine before and after treatment with tinted spectacles. Ophthalmological and Physiological Optics, 22, 130-142.

Good, P. A., Taylor, R. H., & Mortimer, M. J. (1991). The use of tinted glasses in childhood migraine. Headache, September, 533-536.

Harris, D. & MacRow-Hill (1999). Application of Chroma-Gen haloscopic lenses to patients with dyslexia: A double-masked placebo-controlled trial. Journal of the Optometric Association, 70(1), 629-640.

Huang, J., Cooper, T. G., Satana, D. Kaufman, D. L., & Cao, Y. (2003). Visual distortion provoked by a stimulus in migraine associated with hyperneural activity. Headache, 43, 664-671.

Jeanes, R., Busby, A., Martin, J., Lewis, E., Stevenson, N., Pointon, D., & Wilkins, A. (1997). Prolonged use of coloured overlays for classroom reading. British Journal of Psychology, 88, 531-548.

Kriss, I., & Evans,  B. J. W. (2005). The relationship between dyslexia and Meares-Irlen Syndrome. Journal of Research in Reading, 28(3), 350-364.

Kyd, L. J. C., Sutherland, G. F. M., & McGettrick, P. M. (1992). A preliminary appraisal of the Irlen screening process for scotopic sensitivity syndrome and the effect of Irlen coloured overlays on reading. The British Orthoptic Journal, 49, 24-30.

Lightstone, A., Lightstone, T., & Wilkins, A. J. (1999). Both coloured overlays and coloured lenses can improve reading fluency, but their optimal chromacities differ. Ophthalmological and Physiological Optics, 19(4), 279-285.

Noble, J., Orton, M., Irlen, S., & Robinson, G. L. (2004). A field study of the use of coloured overlays on reading achievement. Australian Journal of Learning Disabilities, 9(2), 14-26.

Northway, N. (2003). Predicting the continued use of overlays in school children: A comparison of the Development Eye Movement test and the Rate of Reading test. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 23(5), 457-463.

Ray, N. J., Fowler, S., & Stein, J. F. (2005). Yellow filters can improve magnocellular function: Motion sensitivity, convergence, accommodation and reading. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1039, 283-293.

Riddell, P. M., Wilkins, A. J., Zemori, V., Gordon, J., & Hainline, J. (1998). The effects of coloured lenses on visual evoked response in photophobic children. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science (Abstract), 39 (Suppl.), pp. 181.

Robinson, G. L.,  & Conway, R. N. F. (1994). Irlen filters and reading strategies: Effects of coloured filters on reading achievement, specific reading strategies and perception of ability. Perceptual & Motor Skills, 79, 467-483.

Robinson, G. L., & Conway, R. N. F. (2000). Irlen lenses and adults: A small scale study of reading speed, accuracy, comprehension and self-image. Australian Journal of Learning Disabilities, 5(1), 4-13.

Robinson, G. L., & Foreman, P. J. (1999). Scotopic Sensitivity/Irlen Syndrome and the use of coloured filters: A long-term placebo controlled and masked study of reading achievement and perception of ability. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 89, 83-113.

Robinson, G. L., McGregor, N. R., Roberts, T. K., Dunstan, R. H., & Butt, H. (2001). A biochemical analysis of people with chronic fatigue who have Irlen Syndrome: Speculation concerning immune system dysfunction. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 93, 486-504.

Scott, L., McWhinnie, H., Taylor, L., Stevenson, N., Irons, P., Lewis, E., Evans, B., & Wilkins, A. (2002). Coloured overlays in schools: Orthoptic and optometric findings. Ophthalmological and Physiological Optics, 22, 156-165.

Simmers, A. J., Gray, L. S., & Wilkins, A. J. (2001). The influence of tinted lenses upon ocular accommodation. Vision Research, 41, 1229-1238.

Singleton, C., & Trotter, S. (2005). Visual stress in adults with and without dyslexia. Journal of Research in Reading, 28(3), 365-379.

Solan, H. A., Brannan, J. R., Ficarra, A., & Byrne, R. (1997). Transient and sustained processing: Effects of varying luminance and wavelength on reading comprehension. Journal of the American Optometric Association, 68(8), 502-510.

Solan, H. A., Ficarra, A., Brannan, J. R., & Rucker, F. (1998). Eye movement effiency in normal and reading disabled elementary school children: Effects of varying luminance and wavelength. Journal of the American Optometric Association, 69(7), 455-464.

Sparkes, D. L., Robinson, G. L., Dunstan, H., & Roberts, T. K. (2003). Plasma cholesterol levels and Irlen Syndrome: Preliminary study of 10- to 17-year-old students. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 97, 743-758.

Sparkes, D. L., Robinson, G. L., Roberts, T. K., & Dunstan, H. (2006). General health and associated biochemistry in a visual-perceptual subtype of dyslexia. In F. Columbus (Ed.), Learning Disabilities: New Research. NY: Nova Science Publications.

Tyrrell, R., Holland, K., Dennis, D., & Wilkins, A. (1995). Coloured overlays, visual discomfort, visual search and classroom reading. Research in Reading, 18, 10-23.

Wilkins, A. J. (1993). Reading and visual discomfort. In D. M. Willows, R. S. Kruk, & E. Corcos (Eds.), Visual processes in reading and reading disabilities. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Wilkins, A. J., Evans, B. J. W., Brown, J. A., Busby, A. E., Wingfield, A. E., Jeanes, R. J., &  Bald, J. (1994). Double-masked placebo-controlled trial of precision spectral filters in children who use coloured overlays. Ophthalmological and Physiological Optics, 14, 365-370.

Wilkins, A. J., Jeanes, R. J., Pumfrey, P. D., & Laskier, M. (1996). Rate of reading test: Its reliability and its validity in the assessment of the effects of coloured overlays. Ophthalmic and Physiological Optics, 16, 365-370.

Wilkins, A. J. & Lewis, E. (1999). Coloured overlays, text and texture. Perception, 28, 641-650.

Wilkins, A. J., Lewis, E., Smith, F., Rowland, F., & Tweedie, W. (2001). Coloured overlays and their benefits for reading. Journal of Research in Reading, 24(1), 41-64.

Wilkins, A. J., Patel, R., Adjamian, P., & Evans, B. J. W. (2002). Tinted spectacles and visually-sensitive migraine. Cephalagia, 22, 711-719.

Williams, M. C., Le Cluyse, K., & Littell, R. (1996). A wavelength specific intervention for reading disability. In R. P. Garzia & R. London (Eds.), Vision and Reading. St Louis: Mosby.

Compiled by the late Dr Greg Robinson. Associate Professor Special Education

The University of Newcastle NSW Australia

 

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Published in Resources
Wednesday, 27 August 2014 10:32

Learning Difficulties Newcastle

A little girl came to see me last week, along with her brother, Mother and Father. Dad has just found out that he has Irlen Syndrome (while his daughter was being assessed) and both children have it as well. The little girl sees words floating, lines look crooked and she sees sparkling when she looks at the page, and sometimes she sees coloured dots when she wakes up in the morning. She said that it takes a while before the dots disappear. Dad also said that he experiences sparkling in his vision, but he just accepted that as normal for him. The boy gets headaches and gets very sore and tired eyes after reading for a short time. He is really light sensitive, even more than his sister. A common observation of children who are light sensitive is the dark rings under the eyes. There are probably other reasons for them, but I believe that it is a certain "give-away" that they are light sensitive, and as a result, usually have Irlen Syndrome. So, if you know of someone who is light sensitive (blinks a lot in the light, can't keep their eyes open for too long when looking towards a light source, prefers to sit in a darker part of the room, shades their eyes with their hands when looking at a page in a bright room or gets headaches each school day, but not necessarily on the weekends) then you should consider that they may have Irlen Syndrome and have them assessed. We have clinics in Coffs Harbour and Taree, and I go to Singleton once a month, and our main clinic is in Wallsend.

Published in Dr Joan Brien
Thursday, 08 May 2014 10:28

Reading Difficulties Newcastle

Dyslexia and Irlen Syndrome (Part 2)

I certainly put the "cat amongst the pigeons" recently when I talked about Irlen Syndrome being confused with dyslexia! (see my Irlen Diagnostic Clinic Newcastle Facebook page June 5 post). I honestly believe that most people (who do not have a definite brain development issue) who can carry out complex thoughts and actions, can be smart in every way including practical skills and planning skills, good at hands-on activities and are as clever as their peers in everything but reading, are likely to have Irlen Syndrome. The sad thing for me is that many of these people will be diagnosed with dyslexia and will go through life with this label. If you take the literal meaning of dyslexia, it simply means "difficulty" (dys) with "language" (lexia) and this can be the result of a number of things. The person may not have had much schooling, may have had a vision problem that was never identified, may have had a hearing problem that was never identified, may have suffered a lot of sickness which interfered with their education, may have a developmental problem with their brain that can make it difficult for them to learn, despite the best efforts of educators and their families and themselves OR they could have IRLEN SYNDROME. In other words, I believe that dyslexia is not a "condition" that someone has, but rather it is a consequence of what life has dealt that individual. I am inserting a link that will take you to the assessment page of Dyslexia Australia. If you look at this page, you will see that the symptoms described (including visual distortions that are reported by people with Irlen Syndrome) are virtually identical to the symptoms of Irlen Syndrome. Wouldn't it be interesting to be able to determine whether people diagnosed with dyslexia using this assessment tool actually have Irlen Syndrome? If we found that, then these people could be helped by the use of Irlen lenses and that would allow them to begin to learn to read effectively and they would not have to go through life being labelled as "dyslexic".

http://www.dyslexia-australia.com.au/assessment.htm 

Published in Dr Joan Brien
Wednesday, 09 April 2014 09:44

Reading Difficulties Newcastle

I was contacted by a parent today who had been referred to our clinic by an optometrist! Hallelujah! All too often, children are taken to optometrists because they are having problems with reading, and more often than not, end up with prescription lenses because the optometrist is doing what they can to help the child to read better. However, a number of those children still end up being diagnosed with Irlen Syndrome because their reading problems are actually not the result of a vision problem. Another thing that happens occasionally is that a parent will take their child to the optometrist to have their eyes checked before coming to our Clinic to be assessed for Irlen. When they mention to the optometrist that they are coming to be assessed for Irlen Syndrome, they are advised to "wait a few months to see if the problems go away with the optometric lenses". I find this frustrating because these parents have usually told us that their children have words moving or fading and we know that their new "reading glasses" will not stop these symptoms, and it means that the child is going to continue to flounder at school for another "few months" and get further and further behind. If this happens to you or any of your friends, and you have the opportunity to pass on some information, please let them know that an optometrist cannot diagnose dyslexia or Irlen Syndrome and that, even though their child may have a vision problem that is detected by the optometrist, if they also have symptoms of Irlen, then they should proceed with the assessment at an Irlen Clinic, because prescription lenses can be tinted so that both problems are corrected.

Published in Dr Joan Brien