So many kids are diagnosed with learning or behavioral disabilities when in fact, that's not the issue at all. It's important to be aware that the child may have a hard-to-detect condition, which impacts learning at school, known as Convergence Insufficiency (CI).
To explain, CI is a condition that negatively affects one's capability to see, read, learn and work at close distances. A person with CI has trouble, or is simply unable to coordinate his/her eyes at close range, and that really impacts on basic activities like reading or writing. And to prevent subsequent double vision, they try harder to make their eyes converge, or turn back in. That might not sound all that bad, but that additional strain will often give way to a number of prohibitive symptoms like headaches from eye strain, blurry or double vision, sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, and the inability to comprehend during short periods of reading. At the severe end of the CI spectrum, the eyes will turn outwards, which is known as strabismus.
You might also notice that your son or daughter easily loses the place while reading, squints, rubs, closes or covers an eye, has trouble remembering what was read, or reports that words they look at appear to move, jump, swim or float. Some sufferers also get motion sickness. And if your child is tired or overworked, it's not uncommon for their symptoms to be amplified.
Unfortunately, CI is often diagnosed incorrectly as ADD or ADHD, dyslexia, or an anxiety disorder. Additionally, this vision problem is often unable to be picked up when a child gets a simple eye exam using only an eye chart, or a basic eye exam at school. A child can have 20/20 eyesight, but also have CI, and the resulting challenges associated with reading.
But it's important to know that CI can be expected to respond positively 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 adequately, and because of this, aren't receiving the help they require early enough. So if your child is struggling to read and concentrate, see us and make a point to get that loved one tested for CI.