- Najja Parker, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
While there is no known cure for dyslexia, scientists say they may have found the cause.
Researchers from universities in France recently conducted an experiment, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, to determine how the cells in the eyes may affect the brain.
To do so, they examined the eyes of 30 people with the learning disability and 30 without it.
They discovered differences in the shape of spots located in the red, blue and green cones of the eye, which are responsible for color.
For the non-dyslexics, the blue cone had a different shape in each eye - one that was round and another that was more oblong. Analysts say the asymmetry allows the signals in one eye to override the signals in the other, producing a single image in the brain created by the dominant eye.
As for the dyslexic, the blue cones were symmetrical. Scientists believe the identical arrangement produces “mirror” images in both eyes that may confuse the brain. Therefore, there is no dominant eye.
Scientists compared it to being left- or right-handed; humans also have a dominant eye.
"The lack of asymmetry might be the biological and anatomical basis of reading and spelling disabilities. For dyslexic students their two eyes are equivalent and their brain has to successively rely on the two slightly different versions of a given visual scene," researchers said in a statement.
“Our observations lead us to believe that we indeed found a potential cause of dyslexia,” they said.
However, scientists say it’s treatable, because there is a preventable, minuscule delay that occurs before the mirror images are sent to the brain.
"The discovery of a delay (of about 10 thousandths of a second) between the primary image and the mirror image in the opposing hemispheres of the brain, allowed us to develop a method to erase the mirror image that is so confusing for dyslexic people," the authors said.
By using a “magic lamp,” they’re able to flash a light into the eye so quickly that it cancels one of the identical images before it reaches the brain.
Despite the findings, more research is needed to ensure the technique works.