By Michael Hutton 

Vision correction  charity patron, Kara Tointon, together with her dancing partner Artem Chigvintsev are the 2010 winners of ‘Strictly Come Dancing'. Previously best known for her role as Dawn Swann in EastEnders, her greatly increased public profile will help to raise awareness for worthy causes like The Vision Charity which generates funds for blind, visually impaired and dyslexic children. Having been diagnosed as dyslexic 20 years ago, Kara is well aware of the challenges faced by the 6m UK dyslexics many of whom are children  who struggle in the classroom and at home, often without their condition being properly diagnosed.

Only now after participating in a trial run by the Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging has Kara been able to read her first book. Part of the brain known as the angular gyrus works differently in people with dyslexia but the Centre has shown its role is in anticipating what our eye will see - similar to predictive text on a mobile phone. Kara underwent an MRI brain scan which measured how much extra effort it took her to identify words and images on a screen. This extra effort often causes dyslexics to remember very little of what they have just read - a major problem for Kara who used to take ten times as long to learn scripts compared to her fellow actors.

The brains of dyslexics have problems processing visual or sound information which makes it difficult to learn to read and write in the traditional ways. Every colour has a different wavelength and for some dyslexics, the white wavelength is too fast for the brain to process. By using a colour filter, an optician can slow down the wavelength and make it easier to read. Kara was given a test similar to a regular optician's eye test to determine which colour filter best suited her. For Kara it is green so green-tinted glasses were prescribed to help her and she chose the first Harry Potter book for her reading breakthrough.

For many children like Kara, only by early and regular eye tests can problems with their vision be identified and appropriate corrective action taken before they suffer academically. In many cases, even the simple condition of short-sightedness which affects some 30% of children is not detected early enough and the condition continues to deteriorate. An early eye test can identify the problem and a solution like orthok corrective contact lenses for children  can then be prescribed which will enable the child to participate fully in classroom, playground and sports activities.

See if your child is suitable   for orthok corrective contact lenses .

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