This is a terrific post. It is great that someone is questioning the evidence for this treatment and is doing some research of their own. What is needed are high quality randomized trials with appropriate educational endpoints. It seems that your thinking is way ahead of some of the proponents of this type of treatment.
The evidence has been reviewed by a number of independent bodies with no financial interest and they all reach the same conclusion. That this treatment lack scientific foundation.
In the UK, Royal College of Ophthalmologists.
In USA, The American Academy of Ophthalmologists, Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus, Council for Disability and the Board of Certified Orthoptists, produced a joint report.
In the UK a systematic review by the Health Technology Assessment Board combined all the randomized controlled trial and found no convincing evidence of any treatment affect and commented on the poor quality of the trials.
As you say the most recent and rigorous trial found no beneficial effect on reading.
Although it may be true, that even if it is placebo effect, it does not matter as long as it works. However, the same effect could be achieved at a much lower cost than a £500 (UK prices) assessment and prescription from an Irlen or Wilkins practitioner. Furthermore, placebo effects are usually short-lived but the effects of good teaching last a lifetime.
The answer to reading difficulties lies with great teachers not bogus medical diagnoses.
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