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What is Convergence Insufficiency?

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Lots of children are diagnosed with learning or behavioral disabilities when in reality, that isn't the issue at all. You may be relieved to know that he or she may be suffering from a hidden vision problem that hinders learning. It's called Convergence Insufficiency (CI).

CI is a near vision issue that negatively impacts your 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 right on the desk in front of them. Someone with CI has a hard time, or is simply not able to coordinate their eyes at close range, and that really impacts on basic activities like reading or writing. To prevent double vision, schoolchildren try harder to make their eyes converge, or turn back in. All this extra strain will often give way to an astounding amount of prohibitive symptoms such as eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, double vision, sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, and reduced comprehension after relatively short reading periods. In bad instances of CI, the eyes tend to turn outwards, which is known as strabismus.

Other things that may indicate CI are if your son or daughter easily loses the place while reading, tends to shut one eye to better see, struggles to recall what was just read, or tells you that words seem to move around on the page. Also, some children get motion sickness. And if your child is sleepy or overworked, it's not uncommon for their symptoms to become worse.

CI is often diagnosed incorrectly as learning or behavioral issues like ADD, ADHD, dyslexia or anxiety. This vision problem often goes undetected when a child gets a simple eye exam using only an eye chart. Anyone can have 20/20 eyesight, but still have CI and therefore, struggle with reading.

Despite all this, the fact is that CI can be expected to respond positively to treatment. Treatments are usually comprised of vision therapy supervised by an eye care professional with practice at home, or the use of prism glasses, which can minimize a number of symptoms. The unfortunate news is that with the consistent lack of testing for it, a lot of sufferers aren't able to access the treatment they require early in life. So if your child is battling to read and concentrate, see your eye doctor and have that loved one tested for CI.