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Struggling with Convergence Insufficiency

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Does your child have a tough time with school? You may be relieved to know that he or she may be one of many kids who have a hard-to-detect condition that impacts learning at school, known as Convergence Insufficiency (CI).

Here's the breakdown: CI is a near vision problem that negatively impacts your ability to see things at close distances. This means that a person with CI would struggle with reading, writing and working on things, even though it's something just on the desk in front of them. A child with CI has a hard time, or is entirely not able to coordinate their eyes at close range, which impairs tasks like reading. To prevent double vision, CI sufferers put in effort to make their eyes turn back in, or to use the correct medical term, converge. This additional strain will often give way to a number of frustrating symptoms including eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, double vision, tiredness and decreased concentration, and reduced comprehension even after brief reading periods. At the extreme end of the CI spectrum, the eyes tend to turn outwards, which is known as strabismus.

Other symptoms that may indicate CI include if your son or daughter often loses the place in a book, tends to shut one eye to better see, has a hard time remembering what was read, or reports that words on the page appear to move, jump, swim or float. It's not rare for all these symptoms to worsen when your child is tired, anxious or overworked.

CI is usually misdiagnosed as dyslexia, ADD or ADHD or even an anxiety disorder. And furthermore, this vision problem is often unable to be detected during school eye screenings or basic eye exams using only an eye chart. Your son or daughter might have 20/20 eyesight, but still have CI and therefore, have a difficult time reading.

Despite all this, the fact is that CI can be expected to respond positively to proper treatment. These treatments are usually comprised of vision therapy supervised by an eye care professional with practice at home, or the use of devices known as prism glasses, which can decrease some symptoms. Unfortunately, people aren't examined properly, and because of this, aren't getting the attention they require early enough. So if you've noticed that your child is having a hard time with any of the symptoms mentioned above, make an appointment with us and make a point to have that loved one examined for CI.