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Home » News and Events » Convergence Insufficiency

Convergence Insufficiency

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So many children are diagnosed with learning or behavioral disabilities when in fact, that's not the problem at all. He or she could be suffering from a hidden but very real condition that effects learning. It's called Convergence Insufficiency (CI).

To explain, CI is a near vision problem that interferes with your capability to see things at close distances. This means that a person with CI would have trouble reading, writing and working on things, even if it's a book or activity just on the desk in front of them. Someone with CI has a hard time, or is entirely not able to coordinate his or her eyes at close range, which makes basic activities, like reading, very difficult. In order to avoid double vision, CI sufferers put in effort to make their eyes turn back in (converge). And this additional work can often cause a whole range of prohibitive side effects such as headaches from eye strain, blurry or double vision, tiredness and difficulty concentrating, and reduced comprehension after brief periods of reading.

Other symptoms that may indicate CI are if your son or daughter often loses his/her place in a book, squints, rubs, closes or covers an eye, has trouble remembering what was read, or describes how the words on the page appear to move, jump, swim or float. And if your child is sleepy or overworked, it's not uncommon for their symptoms to intensify.

CI is often misdiagnosed as ADD or ADHD, dyslexia, or an anxiety disorder. Additionally, this eye problem is easily missed during school eye screenings or standard eye exams using only an eye chart. A child can have 20/20 eyesight, with CI, and lack the visual skills critical for reading.

But it's important to know that CI can be expected to respond well to proper treatment, which involves either supervised vision therapy in a clinical office with home reinforcement, or prismatic (prism) glasses prescribed to decrease some of the symptoms. Unfortunately, due to considerable lack of testing for it, lots of sufferers are not finding the help they need early in life. So if your child is struggling with reading, writing and concentrating, call your eye doctor and have your child screened for CI.