Does your child excel in all sorts of activities, but struggle when it comes to school? In truth, he or she might have a hidden condition, which impacts learning at school, called Convergence Insufficiency (CI).
CI is a near vision issue that negatively impacts a child's capability to see, read, learn and work at close distances. Someone suffering from CI struggles to, or is more or less unable to coordinate their eyes at close range, which makes everyday activities, like reading, very hard. And because they want to avoid double vision, CI sufferers try harder to make their eyes converge, or turn back in. This additional work can lead to a whole lot of uncomfortable issues including headaches from eye strain, blurry or double vision, tiredness and decreased concentration, and reduced comprehension even after small reading periods. Other issues include difficulty performing computer work, desk work, playing on handheld video games or doing crafts.
You may have also noticed that your son or daughter frequently loses his/her place while reading, tends to shut one eye to better see, has a hard time remembering what was read, or says that words they look at seem to move around on the page. And if your child is sleepy or overworked, it's not uncommon for their symptoms to worsen.
CI is often diagnosed incorrectly as ADD or ADHD, dyslexia, or an anxiety disorder. Additionally, this problem slips under the radar 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 vision, but also have CI, and the subsequent difficulties when it comes to basic skills like reading.
The good news is that CI can be expected to respond well to professional treatment, involving either supervised vision therapy in a clinical office with home reinforcement, or prismatic (prism) eyeglasses prescribed to decrease some of the symptoms. The unfortunate news is that since there is persistent lack of testing for it, a lot of sufferers are not getting the treatment they need early in life. So if your child is struggling with any of the symptoms mentioned above, make an appointment with your optometrist to discuss having your child tested for CI.