When a child struggles at school, it's not always a learning disability. In truth, he or she may be suffering from a particular condition that impacts learning at school. It's called Convergence Insufficiency (CI).
Here's the breakdown: CI is a near vision issue that negatively affects your ability to see, read, learn and work at close distances. Someone with CI struggles to, or is entirely unable to coordinate his or her eyes at close range, which impairs activities like reading. To prevent double vision, schoolchildren try harder to make their eyes turn back in (converge). That might not sound all that bad, but that added strain will often give way to a whole lot of prohibitive side effects including headaches from eye strain, blurred vision, double vision, fatigue and decreased concentration, and the inability to comprehend during relatively brief reading periods. With bad cases of CI, the eyes may actually turn outwards. This is known as strabismus.
Other symptoms that may indicate CI include if your son or daughter easily loses the place in a book, squints or tends to shut one eye, struggles to repeat what they just read, or reports that words on the page seem to move around on the page. Some sufferers also get motion sickness.
CI is usually misdiagnosed as dyslexia, ADD or ADHD or even an anxiety disorder. And furthermore, this vision condition is easily missed during school eye screenings or basic eye exams using only an eye chart. A child can have 20/20 vision, but still have CI and therefore, have a difficult time reading.
But it's important to know that CI tends to respond well to professional treatment, involving either supervised vision therapy in a clinical office with home reinforcement, or prismatic (prism) eyeglasses prescribed to decrease some of the symptoms. Unfortunately, people aren't examined properly, and because of this, aren't getting the help they require early enough. So if your child shows signs of having a tough time coping with any of the issues mentioned above, call us to discuss having that loved one tested for CI.