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What is Convergence Insufficiency?

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Many children are diagnosed with learning or behavioral disabilities when actually, that isn't the problem at all. It's important to be aware that the child might have a hidden but very real condition, which impacts learning, called Convergence Insufficiency (CI).

To explain, CI is a condition that gets in the way of one's capacity to see things at close distances. This means that a person with CI would struggle with reading, writing and working on things, even when it's a book or activity sitting right in front of them. A sufferer of CI struggles to, or is entirely not able to coordinate their eyes at close distances, which makes everyday tasks, like reading, really challenging. To prevent double vision, CI sufferers strain more to make their eyes turn back in (converge). All this added strain will often give way to an astounding amount of difficult side effects like headaches from eye strain, blurred vision, double vision, fatigue and decreased concentration, and reduced comprehension even after short periods of reading. With the worst instances of CI, the eyes will turn outwards, which is known as strabismus.

Other occurrences that may indicate CI are if your son or daughter frequently loses his or her place in a book, tends to shut one eye to better see, struggles to recall what was just read, or describes how the words on the page appear to move or float. Also, some children get motion sickness. And if your son or daughter is sleepy or overworked, it's not uncommon for their symptoms to be amplified.

Unfortunately, CI is frequently diagnosed incorrectly as ADD or ADHD, dyslexia, or an anxiety disorder. And furthermore, this condition is often unable to be picked up during school eye screenings or standard eye exams using only an eye chart. Anyone can have 20/20 eyesight, but still have CI and therefore, have a difficult time reading.

That said, the good news is that CI usually responds positively to treatment. Treatments are usually comprised of supervised vision therapy with practice at home, or the use of prism glasses, which can reduce some symptoms. Unfortunately, due to consistent lack of testing for CI, lots of people aren't able to access the help they require early in life. So if you've observed that your child shows signs of struggling with anything mentioned above, call us and have your child tested for CI.

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