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Home » What’s New » What is Convergence Insufficiency?

What is Convergence Insufficiency?

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Does your child excel in many sorts of things, but struggle at school? It's important to be aware that the child could have a hidden condition, which creates an obstacle in the way of learning at school. It's known as Convergence Insufficiency (CI).

In short, CI is a problem that negatively impacts a child's capacity to see things at close distances. This means, a person with CI would struggle with reading, writing and working on things, even when it's a book or activity sitting just on the desk in front of them. Someone with CI has trouble, or is entirely not able to coordinate his or her eyes at close distances, which impairs things like reading. And because they want 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 range of prohibitive side effects like headaches from eye strain, blurry or double vision, tiredness and decreased concentration, and the inability to comprehend during small periods of reading.

Other occurrences that may indicate CI include if your son or daughter easily loses his/her place in a book, tends to shut one eye to better see, has a hard time remembering what was read, or describes how the words appear to move or float. Another issue that often comes up is motion sickness. And if your son or daughter is sleepy or overworked, it's not uncommon for their symptoms to worsen.

CI is frequently diagnosed incorrectly as dyslexia, ADD or ADHD or even an anxiety disorder. This vision condition is often not picked up during school eye screenings or regular eye exams using only an eye chart. Anyone can have 20/20 vision, while having CI, and not be able to develop the visual skills needed for reading.

Despite all this, the fact is that CI generally responds well to proper treatment, which involves either supervised vision therapy in a clinical office with home reinforcement, or prismatic (prism) glasses prescribed to decrease some of the symptoms. Unfortunately, people aren't screened adequately, and because of this, aren't getting the treatment they require early enough. So if your child is having a hard time with any of the issues mentioned above, see us and make a point to have your child examined for CI.