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What is Convergence Insufficiency?

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Too often, we meet smart children who really enjoy camp and extracurricular activities, but just don't enjoy school. He or she may be suffering from a hard-to-detect vision problem, which effects learning at school. It's known as Convergence Insufficiency (CI).

CI is a problem that negatively impacts your capacity to see things at close distances. This means that a person with CI would struggle with 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 struggles to, or is more or less unable to coordinate his or her eyes at close range, which makes basic tasks, like reading, really hard. And to prevent subsequent double vision, schoolchildren try harder to make their eyes turn back in (converge). All this additional burden on the system can often cause an astounding amount of frustrating symptoms such as eyestrain, headaches, blurry or double vision, tiredness and difficulty concentrating, and the inability to comprehend even during small reading periods. Further symptoms include challenges with working on a computer, desk work, using digital readers or cell phones, or doing art work.

You might also notice that your child frequently loses his/her place in a book, tends to shut one eye to better see, has trouble remembering what was read, or says that words on the page seem to be moving. Another issue that often comes up is motion sickness. And if your child is tired or overworked, it's not uncommon for their symptoms to intensify.

CI is usually misdiagnosed as ADD or ADHD, dyslexia, or an anxiety disorder. This condition slips under the radar during school eye screenings or regular eye exams using only an eye chart. A child can have 20/20 vision, yet still have CI, and not have the visual skills needed for reading.

Despite all this, the fact is that CI tends to respond well to treatment. Treatments are usually comprised of supervised vision therapy with practice at home, or the use of prism glasses, which can decrease some symptoms. Sadly, most people aren't screened thoroughly enough, and because of this, aren't getting the attention they require early enough. So if your child is struggling to read and concentrate, make an appointment with your eye doctor to discuss having that loved one tested for CI.


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