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Focusing on Convergence Insufficiency

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Many kids are diagnosed with learning or behavioral disabilities when in fact, that's not the issue at all. In truth, he or she might be one of many kids who have a particular condition that effects learning. It's called Convergence Insufficiency (CI).

In short, CI is a problem that impacts a child's ability to see, read, learn and work at close distances. Someone with CI has a hard time, or is entirely not able to coordinate his/her eyes at close distances, which impairs things like reading. And to prevent subsequent double vision, they strain more to make their eyes turn back in, or to use the correct medical term, converge. This extra strain often leads to an astounding amount of prohibitive side effects such as headaches from eye strain, blurry or double vision, fatigue and decreased concentration, and the inability to comprehend even during small reading periods. In more severe cases of CI, the eyes may actually turn outwards. This is called strabismus.

You might also notice that your child often loses his/her place while reading, squints, rubs, closes or covers an eye, struggles when trying to recall what they just read, or tells you that words they look at seem to move around on the page.

Unfortunately, CI is usually diagnosed incorrectly as dyslexia, ADD or ADHD or even an anxiety disorder. And furthermore, this condition slips under the radar during school eye screenings or standard eye exams using only an eye chart. Your child may have 20/20 vision, but also have CI, and the resulting troubles with tasks like reading.

Despite all this, the fact is that CI often responds positively to professional treatment. These treatments are usually comprised of vision therapy supervised by an eye care professional with reinforcing practice sessions at home, or the use of devices known as prism glasses, which will lessen some symptoms. Sadly, people aren't tested adequately, and as a result, aren't receiving the help they need early enough. So if you've observed that your child shows signs of having a tough time coping with any of the issues mentioned above, see your eye doctor to discuss having your child tested for CI.

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