They look like simple sunglasses, but a new kind of lens technology can help people overcome major learning obstacles.
Children and adults who struggle with reading are literally seeing a difference.
"They just help a lot," said 9-year-old Margaret Ann Hidell. She says doing her homework is easier since she got the glasses four weeks ago.
The words and numbers stay in place. "I feel like they make my reading better so I go faster," said Margaret Ann.
It was an instant improvement. Margaret Ann's reading tested 30-percent faster at the eye doctor's office.
Her mom saw a difference, too. "I noticed she was getting A-pluses and B's and it just seemed she was getting that increase in confidence," said Laurie Hidell.
A company called Chromagen makes them to treat dyslexia, but they can help with ADHD, ADD, and other reading disorders too.
"It's almost filtering out some of the noise," said Doctor Morey Sheffer. Sometimes one optic nerve relays information to the brain faster than the other, he said. The lenses help slow one side down and get them both in sync.
"It's the kind of thing that doesn't take months to figure out," said Dr. Sheffer. "If it doesn't work when we are evaluating the patient in the office, it's not going to work," he said.
Here's one simple test: Dr. Sheffer gives patients a passage to read. Without the lenses, he or she might take 60 seconds. While using the lenses, that time could be cut in half.
Laurie Hidell says she has shared their experience with other parents. She says Margaret Ann was doing fine in school, but she believes there has been improvement and the glasses have helped.
"Absolutely. If it's improving her and she wants to wear them, why not," she said.
Joanie Walker said the glasses helped her 17-year-old daughter tremendously. She doesn't have dyslexia, but had trouble concentrating.
Walker said she wishes the glasses had been available sooner. They could have saved a lot of frustration over the years, as her daughter had to work harder to keep on track with her schoolwork.
The lenses cost about $800. For more information, visit Chromagen's web site here.
The lenses might help people who say words appear blurry to them, or move around on the page.
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