Commentary by Tammy Wittmann, O.D.
Is your child achieving in everything except school?
If this sounds like your child, he or she may be struggling with a vision problem that is not detected by reading a vision chart. It impacts learning and is known as convergence insufficiency.
CI affects vision, reading and comprehension. When someone has C, he or she is not able to easily focus on near tasks for very long. There is an attempt to focus on the near task (for example, reading, math homework, timed tests), but quickly find they cannot concentrate and/or physically focus on that task. Does this sound like your child?
Most people with CI don’t know they have it, and CI doesn’t go away with age. It is not detected in a standard eye exam or eye screening by reading a standard eye chart. Most of kids, in fact, have 20/20 vision.
If you ask them if they can see, they say they can. But the most common symptoms of CI are:
- Difficulty concentrating.
- Difficulty reading.
- Tired eyes.
- Overlapping words.
Most will have perhaps only a few of these symptoms because the child has learned to adapt. And please be forewarned: ADHD is the most common misdiagnosis. Too, many children with CI have lower self-esteem, and they tend to believe headaches are just part of life.
There is a cure for CI. The first step is having your child evaluated by an eye doctor who tests for the condition. Not all do. It is not part of a standard eye examination. Secondly, once the diagnosis is made, there are corrective therapies available.
If you believe your child may be suffering from CI, call your vision specialist and ask to have him or her evaluated for CI. The specialist will be able to recommend proper therapy if needed.
Tammy Wittmann, O.D., is the owner of Wittmann 20/20 Family Eye Care. For more information, call 843-2020 or e-mail twittmann@ wittmann2020.com.