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Learning Disability or Convergence Insufficiency?

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Does your son or daughter have some trouble with school? In truth, he or she might have a hidden vision issue that effects learning. It's called Convergence Insufficiency (CI).

Here's the breakdown: CI is a near vision problem that negatively impacts one's ability to see things at close distances. This means that a person with CI would have trouble reading, writing and working on things, even when it's a book or activity just on the desk in front of them. A sufferer of CI has trouble, or is more or less not able to coordinate their eyes at close distances, and that really impacts on basic activities like reading or writing. And because they want to avoid double vision, CI sufferers strain more to make their eyes turn back in (converge). This additional effort can lead to a whole lot of uncomfortable symptoms like headaches from eye strain, blurred vision, double vision, fatigue and decreased concentration, and the inability to comprehend during small periods of reading.

You may have also noticed that your child easily loses his or her place in a book, squints, rubs, closes or covers an eye, has a hard time remembering what was read, or tells you that words seem to move around on the page. Also, some children get motion sickness. And if your son or daughter is sleepy or overworked, it's common for their symptoms to become worse.

CI is often misdiagnosed as dyslexia, ADD or ADHD or even an anxiety disorder. This problem is easily missed during school eye screenings or regular eye exams using only an eye chart. Anyone can have 20/20 vision, but also have CI, and the resulting troubles with tasks like reading.

But there's good news too! It's been shown that CI typically responds positively 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. The unfortunate news is that due to considerable lack of testing for CI, a lot of sufferers aren't getting the treatment they require early in life. So if your child is struggling with reading, writing and concentrating, speak to your eye doctor to discuss having your child tested for CI.