Bakersfield doctor offers ChromaGen lenses that help treat dyslexia

A revolutionary way to make glasses and contact lenses could help treat the reading problem known as dyslexia. Dyslexia can take months or even years to diagnose.
November 8, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
A revolutionary way to make glasses and contact lenses could help treat the reading problem known as dyslexia. Dyslexia can take months or even years to diagnose. A child can struggle in school, and still find a way to cope with the reading difficulty, delaying a chance for diagnosis.

Bakersfield Optometrist Dr. Joseph Figazo offers a possible solution to vision problems that can be associated with dyslexia.

ChromaGen lenses have been used in England and Europe for over 20 years. But now the technology has been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration and doctors in the U.S. are prescribing ChromaGen lenses to help treat dyslexia.

Some people with dyslexia say words seem to float off the page or go out of focus ChromaGen glasses or contact lenses are custom made with a system of 16 tinted filters. The colored lenses adjust the wavelength of light entering the eye.

The company says when the wavelengths are adjusted for dyslexic reader's text becomes clear and the words stop moving. Dr. Figazolo changes the colored filters in the test glasses, to find the pair that makes the most difference for the patient. Often the colors are different for each eye.

Seven-year-old Nathan was able to pick up the pace of his reading after a trying a few lenses. Dr. Figazolo said he's seen dramatic changes with his patients.

"The results speak for themselves. When the kid starts doing better on their tests, bringing home good grades feeling better about themselves, it works," Dr. Figazolo said.

After Dr. Figazolo tests the patient and determines a ChromaGen prescription, the patient can choose any frame. The lenses are made in a lab in Illinois and the patient gets them in about a week.

Lenses like ChromaGen are being closely watched by centers like Learning RX in Northeast Fresno. Learning RX Director Renee Bautista-Guill said overcoming reading problems like dyslexia must include training the brain. The exercises tap into the ability to dissect the sounds of letters and store them into memory. Bautista-Guill said cognitive training is backed by studies, and wonders about the data on CromaGen lenses.

"I don't know that there's a lot of scientific based data behind the lenses yet. Not to say, they're new, they're out. Maybe they can help some people. Maybe they won't help others," Renee Bautista-Guill said. But Dr. Figazolo says his patients see a life-changing difference.

The lenses are $900 plus the cost of frames. The ChromaGen tint can also be added to contact lenses. Medical or vision-care insurance can cover part of the cost. Dr. Figazolo says for his patients seeing the words clearly are success.

The company is already working on the next generation of ChromaGen Lenses to make improvements. The doctor says, he's seeing a growing number of adult patients who are finally finding relief from vision problems associated with dyslexia.


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