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What is Convergence Insufficiency?

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So many children are diagnosed with learning or behavioral disabilities when in reality, that isn't the problem at all. You may be relieved to know that he or she could be suffering from a particular condition, which impacts learning. It's known as Convergence Insufficiency (CI).

In short, CI is a problem that negatively impacts your capacity to see things at close distances. This means that a person with CI would struggle with reading, writing and working on things, even though it's something just in front of them. A sufferer of CI has a hard time, or is more or less not able to coordinate his/her eyes at close range, and that greatly impacts on basic activities like reading or writing. To prevent double vision, schoolchildren strain more to make their eyes turn back in (converge). And this additional burden on the system often leads to a whole range of uncomfortable issues such as headaches from eye strain, blurry or double vision, fatigue and decreased concentration, and the inability to comprehend during brief periods of reading.

You may also notice that your child often loses his/her place in a book, tends to shut one eye to better see, has trouble remembering what was read, or tells you that words on the page seem to be moving. It is not uncommon for these symptoms to worsen when your child is tired, anxious or overworked.

CI is frequently misdiagnosed as dyslexia, ADD or ADHD or even an anxiety disorder. Additionally, this vision problem is often unable to be detected during school eye screenings or basic eye exams using only an eye chart. A child can have 20/20 vision, yet still have CI, and not be able to develop the visual skills we all need for reading.

The good news is that CI tends to respond positively to treatment, involving either supervised vision therapy in a clinical office with home reinforcement, or prismatic (prism) glasses prescribed to decrease some of the symptoms. Unfortunately, with the considerable lack of testing for CI, lots of sufferers are not able to access the treatment they require early in life. So if your child shows signs of having a tough time coping with anything mentioned above, see us to discuss having that loved one tested for CI.


Please be advised that all office visits including exams, frame selections, repairs, pick-ups, and drop-offs are by appointment only. We are required to wear a face mask in our office and ask that you bring yours to your appointment.

We are happy to serve our patients and community and are committed to keeping you as safe as possible.

Thank you.

The Shuswap Optometric Team