Is your child smart when it comes to all kinds of things, but cannot cope well with school? You may be relieved to know that he or she may have a particular condition, which hinders learning, which eye doctors call Convergence Insufficiency (CI).
Here's the breakdown: CI is a near vision issue that gets in the way of a child's capability to see, read, learn and work at close distances. A person with CI struggles to, or is more or less unable to coordinate his/her eyes at close range, which impairs things like reading. To prevent double vision, CI sufferers try harder to make their eyes converge, or turn back in. And this extra work often leads to a whole lot of prohibitive side effects like headaches from eye strain, blurred vision, double vision, sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, and reduced comprehension even after relatively short reading periods. Additional symptoms include challenges with doing computer work, desk work, using digital readers or cell phones, or doing art work. With severe instances of CI, the eyes can often turn outwards. This is referred to as strabismus.
You may have also noticed that your son or daughter often loses his or her place while reading, squints or tends to shut one eye, has trouble remembering what was read, or says that words appear to move, jump, swim or float.
Unfortunately, CI is often 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. Anyone can have 20/20 vision, while having CI, and lack the visual skills we all need for reading.
But it's important to know that CI can be expected to respond well to treatment, which involves either supervised vision therapy in a clinical office with home reinforcement, or prismatic (prism) eyeglasses prescribed to decrease some of the symptoms. The bad news is that because of considerable lack of testing for CI, many sufferers are not finding the help they need early in life. So if your child is battling to read and concentrate, call us to discuss having that loved one tested for CI.