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Home » What's New » Focusing on Convergence Insufficiency

Focusing on Convergence Insufficiency

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Does your son or daughter do well in all sorts of challenging activities, but have a tough time when it comes to school? He or she may have a particular vision problem, which creates an obstacle in the way of learning at school. It's called Convergence Insufficiency (CI).

CI is a near vision issue that negatively affects a child's ability to see, read, learn and work at close distances. Someone suffering from CI has trouble, or is simply unable to coordinate his or her eyes at close range, which makes basic activities, like reading, really challenging. In order to avoid double vision, schoolchildren try harder to make their eyes converge, or turn back in. All this added effort often leads to a whole lot of prohibitive side effects including headaches from eye strain, blurry or double vision, tiredness and decreased concentration, and the inability to comprehend even during short reading periods. Subsequent symptoms include difficulty working on a computer, desk work, playing handheld video games or doing art work.

Other things that may indicate CI include if your child often loses his or her place in a book, squints or tends to shut one eye, has trouble remembering what was read, or reports that words on the page appear to move, jump, swim or float. Another issue that often comes up is motion sickness. And unfortunately, it's common for these symptoms to be even harder to deal with when your child is tired, anxious or overworked.

CI is usually diagnosed incorrectly as learning or behavioral issues like ADD, ADHD, dyslexia or anxiety. Additionally, this problem often goes undetected when a child gets a simple eye exam using only an eye chart, or a basic eye exam at school. Your son or daughter might have 20/20 vision, while having CI, and not have the visual skills critical for reading.

But it's important to know that CI usually responds well to proper treatment. These treatments are usually comprised of supervised vision therapy with practice sessions at home, or the use of prism glasses, which will minimize a number of symptoms. Unfortunately, since there is persistent lack of testing for it, a lot of sufferers are not getting the help they need early in life. So if you've noticed that your child is having a tough time coping with any of the symptoms mentioned above, speak to your eye doctor and be sure to get your child screened for CI.