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Learning Disability or Convergence Insufficiency?

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Does your child have a tough time with school? You may be relieved to know that he or she might have a particular vision issue, which effects learning, known as Convergence Insufficiency (CI).

In short, CI is a near vision issue that impacts a child's capability to see things at close distances. This means, a person with CI would have trouble reading, writing and working on things, even though it's something sitting just on the desk in front of them. A person with CI has a hard time, or is more or less unable to coordinate his/her eyes at close distances, which makes basic activities, like reading, extremely difficult. In order to avoid double vision, they strain more to make their eyes turn back in (converge). That might not sound all that bad, but that added strain can lead to a whole lot of frustrating side effects such as headaches from eye strain, blurry or double vision, fatigue and decreased concentration, and the inability to comprehend during relatively small periods of reading. Further symptoms include difficulty performing computer work, desk work, using digital readers or cell phones, or doing art work. With severe instances of CI, the eyes will turn outwards, which is known as strabismus.

Other occurrences that may point to CI are if your child often loses the place while reading, squints, rubs, closes or covers an eye, struggles to remember what was just read, or tells you that words on the page seem to move around on the page. Some sufferers also experience problems with motion sickness.

CI is often misdiagnosed as dyslexia, ADD or ADHD or even an anxiety disorder. Additionally, this vision problem slips under the radar when a child gets a simple eye exam using only an eye chart. Anyone can have 20/20 vision, while having CI, and not have the visual skills we all need for reading.

But there's good news too! It's been shown that CI tends to respond well to proper treatment, involving either supervised vision therapy in a clinical office with home reinforcement, or prismatic (prism) eyeglasses prescribed to decrease some of the symptoms. Sadly, people aren't screened properly, and because of this, aren't getting the treatment they need early enough. So if your child shows signs of struggling with any of the issues mentioned above, see us to discuss having your child tested for CI.