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Reading difficultly jumping letters


Dyslexia fact or fiction

As many as 1 in 5 children experience difficulty in learning to read. But the controversial topic of dyslexia has been claimed to be more than a problem developing accurate and fluent word reading and/or spelling. It has been suggested to affect otherwise intelligent people who suffer visual or other perceptual problems that make it difficult for them to process print properly.

This was the very interesting topic of a Channel 4 documentary 10 years ago (google). While some people swear by the true nature of dyslexia, others aren't convinced. At least all agree that extra educational support for children makes complete sense.

For my part as an ophthalmologist, I am regularly asked to see such children. A general vision health check and specifically exclusion of an orthoptic disorder of eye movement has been the main goals.

But over the years I have learnt something important. A high percentage of such children also seem to have mild allergic conjunctivitis. The symptoms can be superficially similar - jumbling of words and photosensitivity on bright pages or screens. The signs can be very subtle indeed and mild ocular surface punctate xerosis and sub-tarsal papillae need to be looked for especially carefully. A background of asthma, eczema or hayfever is a clue that this may be part of the problem.

Well, the good news has been that after a trial on anti-allergy eye-drops many if not quite all of these children report a vast improvement in their eye comfort and ability to read!

The point is 'dyslexia' may be mimicked by allergy; perhaps it is more than one simple thing.

If you have success with this approach do please let me know. As a sign of appreciation, if you wish, please consider a small charitable donation to my Paediatric Clinic Fund. Thank you!

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