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Focusing on Convergence Insufficiency

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So often, we hear about really bright children who really enjoy camp and extracurricular activities, but just don't feel the same way about school. It's important to be aware that the child may be one of many kids who have a particular condition that impacts learning. It's called Convergence Insufficiency (CI).

CI is a condition that gets in the way of a child's capacity to see things at close distances. This means that a person with CI would have trouble reading, writing and working on things, even if it's something just in front of them. Someone suffering from CI has a hard time, or is entirely unable to coordinate his/her eyes at close range, which makes everyday tasks, like reading, really difficult. In order to avoid double vision, people with CI try harder to make their eyes turn back in, or to use the correct medical term, converge. All this additional burden on the system will often give way to a whole lot of prohibitive issues like headaches from eye strain, blurred vision, double vision, fatigue and decreased concentration, and the inability to comprehend even during short periods of reading. Other symptoms include difficulty doing computer work, desk work, using digital readers or cell phones, or doing art work.

You may also notice that your son or daughter often loses the place in a book, tends to shut one eye to better see, struggles when trying to recall what was just read, or describes how the words on the page appear to move, jump, swim or float. Also, some children have problems with motion sickness. It's not rare for all these symptoms to worsen as a result of illness, lack of rest, anxiety or too much time spent working.

CI is frequently diagnosed incorrectly as dyslexia, ADD or ADHD or even an anxiety disorder. This eye problem slips under the radar during school eye screenings or basic eye exams using only an eye chart. Your son or daughter might have 20/20 vision, while having CI, and lack the visual skills critical for reading.

But it's important to know that CI usually responds well to proper treatment, which involves either supervised vision therapy in a clinical office with home reinforcement, or prismatic (prism) glasses prescribed to decrease some of the symptoms. Unfortunately, most people aren't examined adequately, and as a result, aren't receiving the help they need early enough. So if your child is having a hard time with any of the issues mentioned above, make an appointment with us and have that loved one screened for CI.


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