Many children are diagnosed with learning or behavioral disabilities when actually, that's not the issue at all. In truth, he or she might have a hidden but very real vision issue that creates an obstacle in the way of learning at school, known as Convergence Insufficiency (CI).
Here's the breakdown: CI is a condition that interferes with your ability to see, read, learn and work at close distances. Someone suffering from CI has trouble, or is entirely not able to coordinate his/her eyes at close distances, which makes basic activities, like reading, really hard. To prevent double vision, they try harder to make their eyes turn back in (converge). And this additional burden on the system often leads to a whole range of uncomfortable symptoms including eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, double vision, fatigue and decreased concentration, and reduced comprehension after relatively small reading periods.
You may also notice that your child easily loses the place when reading, tends to shut one eye to better see, has a hard time remembering what was read, or tells you that words they look at appear to move or float. Additionally, some kids also have problems with motion sickness. And unfortunately, it's common for these symptoms to escalate after a long amount of time spent reading or writing, especially if he or she is tired or tense.
Unfortunately, CI is frequently misdiagnosed as learning or behavioral issues like ADD, ADHD, dyslexia or anxiety. Additionally, this eye condition often goes undetected during school eye screenings or standard eye exams using only an eye chart. Your child may have 20/20 vision, while having CI, and not be able to develop the visual skills needed for reading.
Despite all this, the fact is that CI typically responds well to proper treatment. These treatments generally involve vision therapy supervised by an eye care professional with reinforcing practice sessions at home, or the use of prism glasses, which can reduce some symptoms. Sadly, most people aren't tested properly, and because of this, aren't receiving the help they require early enough. So if your child is battling to read and concentrate, call us and be sure to have your child examined for CI.