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Struggling with Convergence Insufficiency

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Too often, children are incorrectly diagnosed with all kinds of behavioral problems, when the real issue is something else entirely. He or she might be one of many kids who have a hidden vision problem that hinders learning at school, that eye doctors call Convergence Insufficiency (CI).

To explain, CI is a condition that affects a child's capability to see things at close distances. This means, a person with CI would have trouble reading, writing and working on things, even though it's something sitting just in front of them. A person with CI has trouble, or is entirely not able to coordinate his/her eyes at close range, and that really impacts on basic activities like reading or writing. To prevent double vision, CI sufferers strain more to make their eyes turn back in (converge). That might not sound all that bad, but that added strain will often give way to an astounding amount of difficult issues including eyestrain, headaches, blurry or double vision, tiredness and decreased concentration, and reduced comprehension even after relatively small periods of reading.

Other occurrences that may point to CI are if your child often loses his/her place when reading, squints or tends to shut one eye, struggles when trying to recall what was just read, or reports that words they look at appear to move, jump, swim or float.

Unfortunately, CI is usually misdiagnosed as ADD or ADHD, dyslexia, or an anxiety disorder. Additionally, this eye problem slips under the radar when a child gets a simple eye exam using only an eye chart, or a basic eye exam at school. Anyone can have 20/20 vision, but also have CI, and the resulting difficulties associated with reading.

Despite all this, the fact is that CI tends to respond well to treatment. These treatments generally involve vision therapy performed by an eye care professional with practice sessions at home, or the use of devices known as prism glasses, which can minimize some symptoms. Sadly, most people aren't examined properly, and as a result, aren't receiving the attention they require early enough. So if you've observed that your child is having a tough time dealing with any of the issues mentioned above, speak to your eye doctor and be sure to have your child tested for CI.