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What is Convergence Insufficiency?

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Many young children are diagnosed with learning or behavioral disabilities when actually, that's not the issue at all. In truth, he or she could be one of many kids who have a particular vision issue that hinders learning at school. It's called Convergence Insufficiency (CI).

To explain, CI is a near vision issue that affects one's capacity to see, read, learn and work at close distances. A child with CI has a hard time, or is more or less not able to coordinate his or her eyes at close range, and that really impacts on basic activities like reading or writing. And to prevent subsequent double vision, schoolchildren try harder to make their eyes turn back in (converge). All this additional work often leads to a whole lot of difficult issues including headaches from eye strain, blurred vision, double vision, sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, and the inability to comprehend even during small periods of reading. At the extreme end of the CI spectrum, the eyes may actually turn outwards. This is called strabismus.

You may have also noticed that your child frequently loses the place while reading, squints or tends to shut one eye, struggles to repeat what was just read, or tells you that words they look at seem to move around on the page. Also, some children have problems with motion sickness. And unfortunately, it's common for all these symptoms to be even harder to deal with after an extended time spent reading or writing, especially if he or she is overtired or tense.

Unfortunately, CI is frequently misdiagnosed as learning or behavioral issues like ADD, ADHD, dyslexia or anxiety. And furthermore, this eye problem is often not picked up when a child gets a simple eye exam using only an eye chart, or a basic eye exam at school. A child can have 20/20 eyesight, while having CI, and lack the visual skills needed for reading.

The good news is that CI tends to respond positively to professional treatment. Treatments generally involve supervised vision therapy with practice at home, or the use of devices known as prism glasses, which will reduce some symptoms. The unfortunate news is that with the considerable lack of testing for it, a lot of people aren't finding the treatment they require early in life. So if you've observed that your child is struggling with any of the issues mentioned above, see us and have your child tested for CI.

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