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What is Convergence Insufficiency?

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Does your son or daughter show a real interest in so many activities, but struggle at school? In truth, he or she may be suffering from a hidden but very real vision problem that impacts learning, that eye doctors call Convergence Insufficiency (CI).

Here's the breakdown: CI is a problem that negatively impacts one's capability to see things at close distances. This means that a person with CI would struggle with reading, writing and working on things, even when it's something just on the desk in front of them. A sufferer of CI struggles to, or is entirely not able to coordinate his/her eyes at close range, which makes necessary tasks, like reading, really hard. In order to avoid double vision, they try harder to make their eyes turn back in, or to use the correct medical term, converge. And this additional burden on the system will often give way to a whole range of difficult issues like eyestrain, headaches, blurry or double vision, sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, and reduced comprehension even after relatively short reading periods.

You may have also noticed that your son or daughter easily loses his/her place when reading, squints, rubs, closes or covers an eye, struggles to recall what was just read, or describes how the words on the page seem to be moving.

Unfortunately, CI is often misdiagnosed as dyslexia, ADD or ADHD or even an anxiety disorder. This eye condition is often unable to be picked up during school eye screenings or basic eye exams using only an eye chart. Anyone can have 20/20 eyesight, with CI, and not be able to develop the visual skills critical for reading.

But it's important to know that CI tends to respond positively to proper treatment, involving either supervised vision therapy in a clinical office with home reinforcement, or prismatic (prism) eyeglasses prescribed to decrease some of the symptoms. Sadly, people aren't screened properly, and as a result, aren't receiving the treatment they need early enough. So if your child shows signs of struggling with anything mentioned above, make an appointment with your eye doctor to discuss having that loved one tested for CI.