What Causes Dyslexia? Scientists Think They May Know, and There Could Be a Cure

Dyslexia, the reading disability, may be caused by the makeup of the eyes. Public Domains

Two scientists believe they have found a possible cause of dyslexia, the disability that affects reading skills—and it could be treatable.

Their research, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, looks into the arrangement of cells in the eyes and the effect this has on the brain, according to a press release on Medical Xpress.

Albert Le Floch and Guy Ropars wrote that, in dyslexic people, the light receptor cells in the eyes were arranged the same on both sides. Meanwhile, in those who do not have the condition, each eye has a different arrangement of cells.

When the patterns of cells are symmetrical, it can produce “mirror” images of the world and confuse the brain, the press statement explained.

When the opposite is true, one image can override the other; there is a dominant eye, which the brain picks when there are two similar images of the world.

The human eye contains both rod and cone cells, with the cones (present in red, green and blue forms) responsible for color vision. However, each eye has a small spot where no blue cones are present.

According to the new study, in non-dyslexic people, these two spots are shaped differently; one is round, and the other is a less even shape.

Meanwhile, the scientists said, dyslexics have a round-shaped spot in both eyes, so neither is dominant.

"Our observations lead us to believe that we indeed found a potential cause of dyslexia," Ropars, of the University of Rennes, told Agence France-Presse.

The researchers posit that treating this condition is possible because, they say, there is a miniscule delay lasting about 10-thousandths of a second before the mirror images are received by the brain. 

During their experiments, the two researchers used an LED lamp flashing at such speed it couldn’t be perceived by the naked eye. This canceled out one of the mirror images in the brains of dyslexic people.

The potential treatment has not yet been sufficiently tested to be deemed reliably effective.

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