Does your son or daughter do well in so many activities, but struggle at school? You may be relieved to know that he or she may be suffering from a particular vision problem, which impacts learning at school. It's known as Convergence Insufficiency (CI).
To explain, CI is a near vision problem that impacts a child's capability to see things at close distances. This means that a person with CI would have trouble reading, writing and working on things, even if it's a book or activity sitting just in front of them. A sufferer of CI struggles to, or is simply not able to coordinate his or her eyes at close distances, which impairs things like reading. In order to avoid double vision, CI sufferers try harder to make their eyes turn back in (converge). And this extra work can often cause an astounding amount of prohibitive side effects including eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, double vision, fatigue and decreased concentration, and the inability to comprehend even during brief periods of reading. With worse cases of CI, the eyes can often turn outwards, which is known as strabismus.
You may have also noticed that your child frequently loses his/her place while reading, squints, rubs, closes or covers an eye, struggles when trying to repeat what was just read, or reports that words they look at appear to move, jump, swim or float. It is not uncommon for all these symptoms to escalate after a long amount of time spent reading or writing, especially if he or she is tired or tense.
CI is usually misdiagnosed as learning or behavioral issues like ADD, ADHD, dyslexia or anxiety. Additionally, this eye condition often goes undetected during school eye screenings or standard eye exams using only an eye chart. Your child may have 20/20 vision, but still have CI and therefore, have a hard time reading.
The good news is that CI tends to respond positively to treatment. Treatments generally involve vision therapy supervised by an eye care professional with practice sessions at home, or the use of prism glasses, which will lessen a number of symptoms. Unfortunately, most people aren't screened properly, and as a result, aren't getting the treatment they need early enough. So if your child is battling to read and concentrate, see your optometrist and have your child screened for CI.