Does your son or daughter do well in many sorts of challenging activities, but have a tough time when they're at school? It's important to be aware that the child might be one of many kids who have a particular condition that creates an obstacle in the way of learning at school. It's known as Convergence Insufficiency (CI).
Here's the breakdown: CI is a near vision problem that interferes with a child's ability to see things at close distances. This means, a person with CI would have trouble reading, writing and working on things, even when it's a book or activity just in front of them. A sufferer of CI has trouble, or is more or less unable to coordinate his/her eyes at close distances, and that greatly impacts on basic activities like reading or writing. In order to avoid double vision, they strain more to make their eyes turn back in (converge). This extra strain will often give way to a whole lot of frustrating issues including headaches from eye strain, blurry or double vision, tiredness and difficulty concentrating, and reduced comprehension after relatively small reading periods. In bad instances of CI, the eyes will turn outwards, which is known as strabismus.
You might also notice that your child easily loses the place in a book, squints, rubs, closes or covers an eye, struggles to remember what they just read, or describes how the words they look at appear to move, jump, swim or float. Another issue that often comes up is motion sickness.
Unfortunately, CI is usually misdiagnosed as dyslexia, ADD or ADHD or even an anxiety disorder. This vision condition is often unable to be picked up during school eye screenings or basic eye exams using only an eye chart. A child can have 20/20 vision, but also have CI, and the subsequent challenges with tasks like reading.
But there's good news too! It's been shown that CI tends to respond positively to professional treatment, which involves either supervised vision therapy in a clinical office with home reinforcement, or prismatic (prism) eyeglasses prescribed to decrease some of the symptoms. Unfortunately, because of persistent lack of testing for CI, a lot of sufferers aren't getting the treatment they require early in life. So if your child is having a hard time with any of the issues mentioned above, speak to us and make a point to have that loved one tested for CI.