Many children are diagnosed with learning or behavioral disabilities when in truth, that's not the issue at all. It's important to be aware that the child might be one of many kids who have a particular condition that creates an obstacle in the way of learning, which eye doctors call Convergence Insufficiency (CI).
CI is a problem that affects a child's capacity to see things at close distances. This means that a person with CI would have trouble reading, writing and working on things, even though it's a book or activity sitting just in front of them. Someone with CI has trouble, or is simply not able to coordinate their eyes at close distances, and that greatly infringes on basic activities like reading or writing. To prevent double vision, CI sufferers strain more to make their eyes turn back in (converge). All this added strain often leads to a number of prohibitive side effects including headaches from eye strain, blurred vision, double vision, fatigue and decreased concentration, and the inability to comprehend even during relatively brief periods of reading. Subsequent side effects include challenges with performing computer work, desk work, playing handheld video games or doing art work. With severe instances of CI, the eyes may actually turn outwards. This is referred to as strabismus.
You may have also noticed that your son or daughter often loses his/her place in a book, tends to shut one eye to better see, has a hard time remembering what was read, or reports that words they look at seem to be moving. Also, some children have problems with motion sickness. It's not rare for these symptoms to worsen when your child is tired, anxious or overworked.
CI is frequently misdiagnosed as learning or behavioral issues like ADD, ADHD, dyslexia or anxiety. And furthermore, this vision condition slips under the radar when a child gets a simple eye exam using only an eye chart. Your child may have 20/20 eyesight, but also have CI, and the subsequent difficulties when it comes to basic skills like reading.
The good news is that CI tends to respond well to proper treatment. These treatments are usually comprised of vision therapy supervised by an eye care professional with practice sessions at home, or the use of prism glasses, which can decrease some symptoms. Sadly, people aren't screened thoroughly enough, and as a result, aren't receiving the help they require early enough. So if you've noticed that your child is having a tough time dealing with anything mentioned above, speak to us and have that loved one screened for CI.