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What is Convergence Insufficiency?

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Does your son or daughter excel in all kinds of things, but have a tough time at school? He or she could have a hidden condition that creates an obstacle in the way of learning, medically referred to as Convergence Insufficiency (CI).

Here's the breakdown: CI is a problem that negatively affects your capability to see, read, learn and work at close distances. Someone suffering from CI has trouble, or is simply not able to coordinate their eyes at close distances, which impairs activities like reading. And to prevent subsequent double vision, they try harder to make their eyes turn back in, or to use the correct medical term, converge. This added effort often leads to a whole lot of uncomfortable side effects such as eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, double vision, tiredness and difficulty concentrating, and reduced comprehension after brief periods of reading. Additional issues include difficulty working on a computer, desk work, using digital readers or cell phones, or doing crafts.

You may also notice that your son or daughter easily loses the place when reading, tends to shut one eye to better see, struggles to remember what was just read, or tells you that words seem to move around on the page.

Unfortunately, CI is usually misdiagnosed as ADD or ADHD, dyslexia, or an anxiety disorder. Additionally, this vision condition slips under the radar during school eye screenings or standard eye exams using only an eye chart. Anyone can have 20/20 eyesight, but suffer from CI, and not have the visual skills we all need for reading.

But it's important to know that CI tends to respond well to treatment. Treatments generally involve supervised vision therapy with practice sessions at home, or the use of prism glasses, which can reduce a number of symptoms. Unfortunately, most people aren't screened thoroughly enough, and as a result, aren't getting the attention they need early enough. So if your child shows signs of having a hard time with any of the issues mentioned above, call us and have that loved one screened for CI.

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