When a child struggles at school, it's not always a learning disability. It's important to be aware that the child could have a hard-to-detect condition that creates an obstacle in the way of learning at school, known as Convergence Insufficiency (CI).
CI is a condition that impacts a child's capacity to see, read, learn and work at close distances. A child with CI struggles to, or is entirely not able to coordinate his/her eyes at close range, and that greatly impacts on basic activities like reading or writing. And to prevent subsequent double vision, CI sufferers try harder to make their eyes turn back in, or to use the correct medical term, converge. All this additional effort will often give way to a whole lot of uncomfortable side effects like headaches from eye strain, blurred vision, double vision, tiredness and decreased concentration, and reduced comprehension even after short reading periods. With severe cases of CI, the eyes will turn outwards. This is known as strabismus.
You may also notice that your son or daughter frequently loses his/her place while reading, tends to shut one eye to better see, struggles when trying to remember what they just read, or says that words seem to move around on the page.
CI is often diagnosed incorrectly as learning or behavioral issues like ADD, ADHD, dyslexia or anxiety. Additionally, this eye condition is often not picked up during school eye screenings or basic eye exams using only an eye chart. Your child may have 20/20 vision, but also have CI, and the resulting troubles when it comes to basic skills like reading.
That said, the good news is that CI often responds well to proper treatment. Treatments are usually comprised of supervised vision therapy with reinforcing practice sessions at home, or the use of prism glasses, which will reduce a number of symptoms. Sadly, most people aren't examined thoroughly enough, and because of this, aren't getting the attention they need early enough. So if your child is struggling with reading, writing and concentrating, call us to discuss having that loved one tested for CI.