Does your son or daughter succeed in many kinds of challenging activities, but struggle when they're at school? He or she may have a particular vision issue that creates an obstacle in the way of learning at school, known as Convergence Insufficiency (CI).
CI is a near vision issue that gets in the way of a child's ability to see, read, learn and work at close distances. A person with CI has trouble, or is more or less not able to coordinate his/her eyes at close range, which impairs activities like reading. And to prevent subsequent double vision, CI sufferers exert extra effort to make their eyes converge, or turn back in. This additional effort can often cause an astounding amount of frustrating symptoms like headaches from eye strain, blurry or double vision, tiredness and decreased concentration, and reduced comprehension even after brief reading periods. At the extreme end of the CI spectrum, the eyes can often turn outwards. This is known as strabismus.
You may have also noticed that your son or daughter easily loses his or her place while reading, tends to shut one eye to better see, struggles when trying to remember what was just read, or tells you that words they look at appear to move or float. Another issue that often comes up is motion sickness.
CI is frequently misdiagnosed as dyslexia, ADD or ADHD or even an anxiety disorder. And furthermore, this vision problem often goes undetected during school eye screenings or standard eye exams using only an eye chart. A child can have 20/20 eyesight, yet still have CI, and lack the visual skills critical for reading.
The good news is that CI tends to respond positively to professional treatment, involving either supervised vision therapy in a clinical office with home reinforcement, or prismatic (prism) glasses prescribed to decrease some of the symptoms. Unfortunately, since there is consistent lack of testing for CI, a lot of people are not able to access the help they need early in life. So if your child is struggling with reading, writing and concentrating, make an appointment with your eye doctor to discuss having your child tested for CI.