Is your child clever when it comes to all kinds of things, but does badly at school? You may be relieved to know that he or she may have a hard-to-detect vision issue, which impacts learning at school. It's known as Convergence Insufficiency (CI).
To explain, CI is a condition that affects a child's capability to see, read, learn and work at close distances. A person with CI struggles to, or is simply not able to coordinate his/her eyes at close range, and that greatly impacts on basic activities like reading or writing. And because they want to avoid double vision, people with CI strain more to make their eyes turn back in, or to use the correct medical term, converge. This additional work can often cause an astounding amount of uncomfortable side effects like headaches from eye strain, blurry or double vision, fatigue and decreased concentration, and the inability to comprehend during relatively small periods of reading. Additional symptoms include challenges with performing computer work, desk work, playing on handheld video games or doing art work. In severe cases of CI, the eyes will turn outwards, which is known as strabismus.
You may have also noticed that your son or daughter often loses his or her place while reading, tends to shut one eye to better see, has trouble remembering what was read, or tells you that words they look at appear to move, jump, swim or float. And if your child is tired or overworked, it's not uncommon for their symptoms to become worse.
Unfortunately, CI is frequently misdiagnosed as dyslexia, ADD or ADHD or even an anxiety disorder. Additionally, this vision problem 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 lack the visual skills critical for reading.
But it's important to know that CI tends to respond positively to proper treatment. Treatments are usually comprised of vision therapy supervised by an eye care professional with practice sessions at home, or the use of devices known as prism glasses, which can minimize some symptoms. Unfortunately, people aren't examined properly, and because of this, aren't getting the treatment they require early enough. So if your child is struggling to read and concentrate, speak to us and have your child examined for CI.