The column allows a manufacturer to make its claims but then turns to a literature search and four sources to examine the evidence.
Reading is an essential tool in a child’s development. Given the economic, social, and and academic impact of poor reading skills, it is not surprising that parents will seek out opportunities to improve their child’s skills.
Because dyslexia is “a complex and controversial condition” as the column explains, it is important to scrutinize the evidence for products and approaches promoted as being able to help about half the people with the condition.
The story explains the cost of the glasses and lenses and that the lens costs could be recurring. It did not explain if insurance covers this approach.
The story allows the manufacturer to state that the lenses can help about 50% of people with dyslexia but that “the true rate is probably much higher.”
But then it added repeated notes of skepticism from others:
We don’t know what the harm would be, other than consumers pursuing a costly approach for which the evidence base is questioned.
The story explains “A search of the medical literature found a single, company-funded study suggesting that ChromaGen lenses could improve the reading skills of people with dyslexia. The study of 47 dyslexics, led by optician and lens inventor David Harris, found that ChromaGen lenses worked significantly better than placebo lenses.”
In addition to the study cited in the story, we found another recent article that showed no improvement in reading skill in 44 children aged 7-12 with Irlen Syndrome (a proposed disorder involving distortion of text when reading). (Pediatrics. 2011;128(4):e932.)
But, as noted in the “Benefits” criterion above, the story also includes others’ cautions:
No disease mongering.
In fact, the story explained that dyslexia “is a complex and controversial condition” and that one optometrist said “there are different types of dyslexia, and only people who have trouble with visual distortions while reading are likely to benefit.”
The story didn’t settle for the manufacturers’ claims. It turned to four other sources.
The column ended with one alternative suggestion from a professor of opthalmology: “It would make more sense to spend your money on something that’s proven to help. Like a tutor.”
The column explained that the lenses are marketed on a company website, which also gives a list of providers.
Not applicable. No claims of novelty are made in the column.
It’s clear that independent research and reporting was done by the writer.