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Bordering Cedar Park & North Austin, minutes from Lakeline Mall. NW Corner of El Salido Pkwy & 620, behind AutoZone.

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Under the Radar: Convergence Insufficiency

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So often, we hear about intelligent children who really enjoy camp and extracurricular activities, but just don't enjoy school. He or she might be one of many kids who have a hidden vision problem, which effects learning, medically referred to as Convergence Insufficiency (CI).

To explain, CI is a problem that negatively affects a child's ability to see things at close distances. This means that a person with CI would have trouble reading, writing and working on things, even when it's something just in front of them. Someone with CI has trouble, or is more or less not able to coordinate their eyes at close range, and that greatly infringes on basic activities like reading or writing. And because they want to avoid double vision, CI sufferers try harder to make their eyes turn back in (converge). That might not sound all that bad, but that additional effort often leads to a number of prohibitive symptoms like eyestrain, headaches, blurred vision, double vision, sleepiness, difficulty concentrating, and the inability to comprehend during relatively short reading periods. Other issues include challenges with doing computer work, desk work, using digital readers or cell phones, or doing art work.

You may also notice that your child often loses his/her place when reading, squints or tends to shut one eye, struggles to remember what was just read, or tells you that words they look at seem to be moving.

Unfortunately, CI is often misdiagnosed as dyslexia, ADD or ADHD or even an anxiety disorder. And furthermore, this vision condition is easily missed during school eye screenings or basic eye exams using only an eye chart. Your son or daughter might have 20/20 eyesight, but also have CI, and the resulting challenges associated with reading.

But it's important to know that CI can be expected to respond well to proper treatment, involving either supervised vision therapy in a clinical office with home reinforcement, or prismatic (prism) eyeglasses prescribed to decrease some of the symptoms. Sadly, people aren't screened properly, and as a result, aren't receiving the treatment they require early enough. So if your child shows signs of struggling with anything mentioned above, make an appointment with us to discuss having that loved one tested for CI.

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