Skip to main content

For a list of updated COVID-19 protocols and procedures that we are implementing in our office for your safety as well as the safety of our staff, click here. 

Walter Shurminsky O.D.

Home » News and Events » Struggling with Convergence Insufficiency

Struggling with Convergence Insufficiency

clipart 038

So many children are diagnosed with learning or behavioral disabilities when in reality, that isn't the problem at all. In truth, he or she may be one of many kids who have a hard-to-detect vision problem, which hinders learning. It's known as Convergence Insufficiency (CI).

To explain, CI is a near vision issue that negatively affects one's ability to see things at close distances. This means, a person with CI would struggle with reading, writing and working on things, even though it's something right on the desk in front of them. A person with CI struggles to, or is more or less not able to coordinate his/her eyes at close distances, which makes basic activities, like reading, really challenging. And because they want to avoid double vision, schoolchildren put in effort to make their eyes turn back in, or to use the correct medical term, converge. All this extra burden on the system can lead to a whole range of uncomfortable issues like eyestrain, headaches, blurry or double vision, sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, and the inability to comprehend during short periods of reading.

Other things that may point to CI are if your child frequently loses his or her place while reading, tends to shut one eye to better see, has trouble remembering what was read, or says that words seem to move around on the page. And unfortunately, it's common for all these symptoms to be even harder to deal with after a long time spent reading or writing, and even more so if he or she is overtired or tense.

CI is usually misdiagnosed as dyslexia, ADD or ADHD or even an anxiety disorder. Additionally, this problem is easily missed during school eye screenings or standard eye exams using only an eye chart. Anyone can have 20/20 eyesight, but also have CI, and the subsequent troubles associated with reading.

The good news is that CI tends to respond positively to proper treatment. These treatments generally involve supervised vision therapy with practice sessions at home, or the use of devices known as prism glasses, which will reduce some symptoms. Unfortunately, people aren't tested adequately, and because of this, aren't getting the attention they require early enough. So if you've observed that your child shows signs of having a tough time coping with anything mentioned above, speak to your eye doctor to discuss having that loved one tested for CI.