ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Hailey Cain can barely make out the words in a book. She said the letters overlap, swim around and pop out.
"I was reading really low and sometimes people would make fun of me," Cain said.
In third grade, Cain was reading at a kindergarten level. Then she was diagnosed with dyslexia. Impulses traveling from her eyes to the brain were not in sync between her two eyes.
Teacher Cheryl Tullis tried everything — almost everything.
"I just couldn't justify teaching her phonics again for another 180 days when she had already done four years of school," said Tullis, a teacher at Shore Acres Elementary School in St. Petersburg Florida.
So, Tullis told Hailey's mom, Telsea, to try specialty tinted lenses called ChromaGen lenses.
"I was skeptical in the beginning myself," Galbraith said.
The lenses keep the words from popping out of the page and overlapping each other.
"I saw my daughter go from being somewhat reclusive and not having any self-esteem to being able to pick up a book like a regular classmate and start to read," Galbraith said.
After Cain got the lenses in January, she jumped from reading 30 words per minute at a kindergarten level to 60 words per minute at a second grade level.
Melcher said ChromaGen is a series of colored filters that change the wavelength of light entering the eye.
"The information reaching the brain is synchronized between the two eyes," Melcher said.
Now, 11-year-old Cain can finally read a book that's meant for her, not a 5-year-old.
The ChromaGen lenses can cost about $800 and they are typically not covered by insurance.
Although the lenses are cleared by the FDA for use with reading problems, including visual dyslexia, the international dyslexia association said dyslexia cannot be treated with visual aids, but there is one student who swears by her new glasses.
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