So many young children are diagnosed with learning or behavioral disabilities when in truth, that's not the issue at all. In truth, he or she may have a hidden but very real vision issue that hinders learning at school. It's known as Convergence Insufficiency (CI).
CI is a near vision problem that impacts your capacity to see things at close distances. This means that a person with CI would struggle with reading, writing and working on things, even though it's a book or activity right in front of them. A person with CI has trouble, or is more or less not able to coordinate his or her eyes at close distances, which makes necessary activities, like reading, really hard. To prevent double vision, people with CI strain more to make their eyes converge, or turn back in. All this additional work can lead to an astounding amount of difficult issues such as headaches from eye strain, blurred vision, double vision, tiredness and decreased concentration, and the inability to comprehend even during short periods of reading. Subsequent symptoms include challenges with working on a computer, desk work, playing handheld video games or doing art work. With worse instances of CI, the eyes may actually turn outwards. This is what optometrists call strabismus.
Other occurrences that may indicate CI are if your son or daughter easily loses his/her place while reading, squints or tends to shut one eye, struggles when trying to repeat what was just read, or says that words on the page seem to be moving.
CI is usually diagnosed incorrectly as ADD or ADHD, dyslexia, or an anxiety disorder. Additionally, this problem is easily missed when a child gets a simple eye exam using only an eye chart. Anyone can have 20/20 eyesight, but also have CI, and the subsequent difficulties when it comes to basic skills like reading.
But there's good news too! It's been shown that CI generally responds well to proper treatment. These treatments are usually comprised of vision therapy performed by an eye care professional with practice sessions at home, or the use of prism glasses, which can decrease a number of symptoms. Unfortunately, since there is considerable lack of testing for it, many sufferers are not getting the help they require early in life. So if your child is struggling to read and concentrate, see us and be sure to get that loved one tested for CI.