As a parent, it can be heart-wrenching to watch your child struggle in school. Often, children who have trouble focusing in class or learning new material are diagnosed with conditions like ADHD or with various learning disabilities. But if none of those diagnoses fit your child, and the treatments for those conditions haven't helped your child, then the problem may just be with your child's vision. A condition called convergence insufficiency affects the vision, making it difficult and frustrating to try to read and learn. The condition presents with symptoms that are similar to symptoms of ADD or learning disabilities like dyslexia. For these reason, convergence insufficiency is often misdiagnosed. Take a look at the things that you need to know about vision disorder.
What Is Convergence Insufficiency?
You already know that convergence insufficiency is a vision disorder, but what does that mean? Basically, it means that your child's eyes don't work together the way that most people's eyes do. Typically, both eyes turn inward when looking at something from only a short distance away, like the distance at which you would hold a book. This inward turn allows you to focus on the page and see one clear image.
With convergence insufficiency, that inward turn doesn't happen naturally, and your child has blurred vision or double vision instead. You can imagine how confusing and frustrating it might be to try to read words on a page when everything is blurry or doubled. Eyestrain and headaches often accompany this condition, and the combination of pain and frustration may result in a child who acts out in class.
How Is Convergence Insufficiency Diagnosed?
If you suspect that your child may suffer from convergence insufficiency, there's a good chance that you've already been through a diagnosis or two that turned out to be wrong. Why wasn't convergence insufficiency considered already, and how can you get a diagnosis?
Convergence insufficiency must be diagnosed by an eye doctor, like an ophthalmologist, optometrist, or orthoptist. Since eye doctors aren't usually the people consulted when a child is screened for learning disabilities or behavior disorders, the condition is easy to miss. An eye doctor will take a history of your child's symptoms and perform several tests that measure the distance at which your child's eyes can converge without doubling or blurriness. These tests are simple and noninvasive.
How Is Convergence Insufficiency Treated?
Convergence insufficiency is treated by a method called vision therapy, as well as with special glasses that help your child's eyes focus. Vision therapy exercises aren't complicated, and they can usually be performed at home with parental supervision.
One common vision therapy exercise is called a pencil push-up. It involves holding a pencil at arm's length, and slowly moving it closer and closer to the face while maintaining focus on the tip of a pencil. Another vision therapy exercise might be tossing and catching a small beanbag while wearing prism glasses to help the eyes focus. There are even computer based exercises that can be done while wearing prism or binocular glasses.
Your child's doctor will give you an individualized therapy plan with exercises that are best suited to your child's needs. The key to successful vision therapy is consistency. You will need to make sure that your child does their exercises every day, or as many times a week as recommended. With regular practice, you'll begin to see improvement in your child's ability to focus, learn, and even sit still in class.
If you've been at a loss for how to help your child who is struggling in school, having them screened for convergence insufficiency, and other possible vision disorders, is something that you can do to help. The screening may provide the answers you've been looking for. For more information, visit sites like http://www.absolutevisioncare.com.