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Struggling with Convergence Insufficiency

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When a son or daughter struggles at school, it's not always a learning disability. In truth, he or she may be one of many kids who have a hard-to-detect vision issue that creates an obstacle in the way of learning at school, known as Convergence Insufficiency (CI).

To explain, CI is a problem that impacts your capacity to see, read, learn and work at close distances. Someone with CI has trouble, or is entirely not able to coordinate his or her eyes at close range, which makes necessary tasks, like reading, really difficult. To prevent double vision, they try harder to make their eyes turn back in (converge). This extra burden on the system can often cause a number of difficult symptoms like eyestrain, headaches, blurry or double vision, sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, and reduced comprehension even after brief reading periods. Subsequent issues include difficulty performing computer work, desk work, playing handheld video games or doing crafts. At the severe end of the CI spectrum, the eyes will turn outwards. This is referred to as strabismus.

Other occurrences that may point to CI are if your son or daughter frequently loses the place when reading, tends to shut one eye to better see, has a hard time remembering what was read, or reports that words they look at appear to move, jump, swim or float. And unfortunately, it's common for these symptoms to get worse when your child is tired, anxious or overworked.

CI is frequently diagnosed incorrectly as dyslexia, ADD or ADHD or even an anxiety disorder. This eye problem slips under the radar when a child gets a simple eye exam using only an eye chart, or a basic eye exam at school. Your child may have 20/20 vision, but also have CI, and the subsequent challenges associated with reading.

But it's important to know that CI can be expected to respond positively to proper treatment, involving either supervised vision therapy in a clinical office with home reinforcement, or prismatic (prism) eyeglasses prescribed to decrease some of the symptoms. Sadly, people aren't examined adequately, and as a result, aren't getting the attention they need early enough. So if your child is battling with reading, writing and concentrating, make an appointment with us to discuss having your child tested for CI.