Nov 16, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

There’s new hope for the approximately 700 million people in the world with dyslexia, the condition that causes a person’s brain to produce “mirror images” of letters and numbers.

French scientists recently published a study that found that the tiny light-receptor cells in the eyes of dyslexic people were arranged in a matching pattern in both eyes.In non-dyslexic people, those cells are arranged asymmetrically to create an image.

In an article in The Guardian, Guy Ropars of the University of Rennes and co-author of the study said, “Our observations lead us to believe that we indeed found a potential cause of dyslexia.”

Ropars explained that a preliminary diagnosis of dyslexia could be made by looking into a patient’s eyes.

He added that “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.”

How? By using an LED lamp.

Most people have a “dominant” eye, as they have a dominant hand. The dominant one has more synaptic connections than the weaker.

To see, images are captured by rods and cones in the eye—the cones are responsible for color.

Most cones—which are red, blue, and green—are in a small spot in the middle of the retina. There’s a small hole with no blue cones.

Ropars and his colleagues found that dyslexic people have a major difference in how their cones are arranged as compared to non-dyslexic people.

In non-dyslexic people, the blue cone-free spot in the dominant eye was round, and the non-dominant eye, it’s uneven. In dyslexic both, both eyes have the same round, cone-free spot.

What does this mean? It means that there’s no dominant eye.

The study concludes that “The lack of asymmetry might be the biological and anatomical basis of reading and spelling disabilities.”

Learn more about doctoral research in education.


Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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