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Convergence Insufficiency

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Is your child clever when it comes to all kinds of things, but cannot cope well with school? It's important to be aware that the child could be suffering from a hidden condition, which hinders learning at school. It's called Convergence Insufficiency (CI).

CI is a near vision problem that negatively affects a child's capacity to see, read, learn and work at close distances. A person with CI has trouble, or is entirely not able to coordinate his/her eyes at close distances, which impairs tasks like reading. To prevent double vision, they strain more to make their eyes turn back in, or to use the correct medical term, converge. All this additional effort will often give way to an astounding amount of prohibitive issues such as eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, double vision, sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, and reduced comprehension even after small reading periods. Other issues include difficulty working on a computer, desk work, using digital readers or cell phones, or doing art work. In the worst cases of CI, the eyes tend to turn outwards. This is referred to as strabismus.

You might also notice that your child easily loses the place when reading, squints or tends to shut one eye, struggles to remember what was just read, or says that words they look at appear to move or float. Another issue that often comes up is motion sickness. It is not uncommon for all these symptoms to escalate when your child is tired, anxious or overworked.

CI is frequently misdiagnosed as dyslexia, ADD or ADHD or even an anxiety disorder. And furthermore, this vision problem is easily missed during school eye screenings or standard eye exams using only an eye chart. Your son or daughter might have 20/20 vision, but also have CI and therefore, struggle with reading.

But it's important to know that CI can be expected to respond well to proper treatment, involving either supervised vision therapy in a clinical office with home reinforcement, or prismatic (prism) glasses prescribed to decrease some of the symptoms. Sadly, most people aren't examined thoroughly enough, and as a result, aren't receiving the treatment they need early enough. So if your child is struggling to read and concentrate, see us to discuss having your child tested for CI.