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Home » What's New » Convergence Insufficiency: Not As Simple As It Seems

Convergence Insufficiency: Not As Simple As It Seems

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Does your son or daughter excel in all sorts of challenging activities, but have a tough time when it comes to school? It's important to be aware that the child may be suffering from a particular vision problem that hinders learning, that eye doctors call Convergence Insufficiency (CI).

To explain, CI is a near vision issue that negatively affects one's ability to see things at close distances. This means that a person with CI would struggle with reading, writing and working on things, even if it's something right in front of them. Someone with CI struggles to, or is more or less unable to coordinate their eyes at close distances, which impairs tasks like reading. To prevent double vision, people with CI try harder to make their eyes converge, or turn back in. All this additional burden on the system can often cause a whole lot of prohibitive issues including headaches from eye strain, blurred vision, double vision, sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, and reduced comprehension after relatively brief periods of reading. Subsequent issues include challenges with performing computer work, desk work, using digital readers or cell phones, or doing crafts. In severe cases of CI, the eyes can often turn outwards, which is known as strabismus.

You may also notice that your child frequently loses the place in a book, squints, rubs, closes or covers an eye, struggles to recall what they just read, or describes how the words on the page appear to move or float. Another issue that often comes up is motion sickness. It is not uncommon for all these symptoms to worsen after a long amount of time spent reading or writing, and even more so if he or she is overtired or anxious.

CI is often diagnosed incorrectly as learning or behavioral issues like ADD, ADHD, dyslexia or anxiety. And furthermore, this vision condition often goes undetected during school eye screenings or basic eye exams using only an eye chart. Anyone can have 20/20 vision, but also have CI, and the subsequent challenges with tasks like reading.

The good news is that CI typically responds positively to 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, most people aren't examined thoroughly enough, and because of this, aren't getting the treatment they need early enough. So if your child shows signs of having a tough time dealing with any of the symptoms mentioned above, call us and make a point to get that loved one tested for CI.