Throughout the history of dyslexia, there has always been a school of thought suggesting that visual disorders were at least a partial cause of reading difficulties. Today, mainstream experts view dyslexia as having a phonological, language-based deficit as its basis. The idea that dyslexia may have only partial roots in a visual disorder has weakened the foundations of this theory.
But just what is a visual disorder? It may help to start by stating what a visual disorder is not. A visual disorder is not a form of blindness. Someone with a visual disorder can however have trouble with three-dimensional (3-D) vision.
People with a visual disorder may have trouble with eye convergence, which means that when they try to do close work, such as reading, their eyes drift outward, causing double vision.
Others with visual disorders may have difficulty with their binocular vision. This means that they cannot coordinate their two eyes to work together as a team. Binocular vision impairment makes it hard to move the eyes across a sheet of text. The person with binocular vision impairment may find it easier to close one eye during reading, because it is hard for him to coordinate the smooth use of both his eyes at the same time. He may have trouble with depth perception, too.
Yet another form of visual disorder is known as visual crowding. In this form of vision disorder, it is difficult for the individual to pick out one object when it is among many other objects within the visual field. This can be somewhat remedied by reading larger print and having larger spaces between the letters of a word.
Although there are some people who continue to insist that vision therapy is useful in improving reading skills, most dyslexia experts believe that the aspects of reading disabilities concerned with vision are hardwired deep inside the brain. A visit to the optometrist would not help to change the wiring of the brain.
BrightStar’s technology, on the other hand, aims to provide real improvement in dyslexia by treating the underlying early sensorimotor visual disorders – difficulties in achieving better timing control of how we move and where we are. These are the most basic activities and have their origins in the earliest stages of our development. Our technology improves this situation by stimulating the flow of visual information in the magnocellular visual pathway in the brain.
These magnocells can then provide a well-timed flow of visual motion information to the part of the brain known as the cerebellum, located at the base of the brain. BrightStar’s software technology not only stimulates this early, involuntary, visual sensori-motor activity but also enhances the individual’s ability to better control those processes involving his cognitive awareness. This enhanced ability makes it possible for the individual to learn by helping him to focus on and recognize patterns in what he sees, without effort.