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Home » What's New » Under the Radar: Convergence Insufficiency

Under the Radar: Convergence Insufficiency

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Too often, kids are incorrectly diagnosed with all kinds of behavioral problems, when the issue is something else completely. It's important to be aware that the child may have a hidden vision problem, which effects learning at school. It's called Convergence Insufficiency (CI).

CI is a problem that interferes with your capacity to see, read, learn and work at close distances. Someone with CI struggles to, or is entirely unable to coordinate his or her eyes at close range, which impairs activities like reading. To prevent double vision, CI sufferers exert effort to make their eyes turn back in, or to use the correct medical term, converge. This additional strain can lead to a whole lot of frustrating symptoms like eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, double vision, fatigue and decreased concentration, and reduced comprehension even after brief periods of reading.

You may also notice that your son or daughter often loses his/her place while reading, tends to shut one eye to better see, has trouble remembering what was read, or reports that words they look at appear to move, jump, swim or float. And if your son or daughter is tired or overworked, it's common for their symptoms to be amplified.

Unfortunately, CI is usually diagnosed incorrectly as ADD or ADHD, dyslexia, or an anxiety disorder. And furthermore, this condition is often unable to be picked up when a child gets a simple eye exam using only an eye chart, or a basic eye exam at school. Anyone can have 20/20 eyesight, but suffer from CI, and not have the visual skills critical for reading.

But it's important to know that CI tends to respond well to treatment. These treatments are usually comprised of supervised vision therapy with practice at home, or the use of prism glasses, which can decrease a number of symptoms. The bad news is that because of persistent lack of testing for it, a lot of sufferers aren't finding the treatment they need early in life. So if your child is having a tough time dealing with any of the symptoms mentioned above, see your eye doctor and be sure to have your child screened for CI.