Convergence Insufficiency

Have you been getting calls from your child’s teacher about his/her disruptive behavior in the classroom? Are you concerned that your child may be diagnosed with ADHD?  Will he need to be put on medication in hopes to help him concentrate better?  Is it possibly something else?  It just doesn’t make sense…

Before you make a decision on how to help your child, please consider their vision as a possible factor and a reason for such behavior.

boy reading a book

Convergence Insufficiency (CI) is a common near vision disorder that interferes with an individual’s ability to see, read, learn and work at near distances. It occurs when your eyes don’t turn inward properly while focusing on a nearby object as well as while reading. When both eyes can’t converge properly while reading, the individual experiences frequent loss of place, loss of concentration, having to re-read, read slowly, trouble remembering what was read, sleepiness, blurred vision, double vision, headaches, and/or eyestrain.

Convergence Insufficiency is very common among children as well as adults. What few people realize – including many doctors – is that most common ADHD symptoms are identical to visual performance problems. They include inattentive behaviors such as making careless mistakes, becoming easily distracted and hyperactive behaviors like fidgeting or interrupting others. Because of this, some people with vision problems are mislabeled as having ADHD.

ADHD is a diagnosis of exclusion. Problems in vision, auditory, movement, balance, language, general and emotional health need to be ruled out before a diagnosis of ADHD is made. Convergence Insufficiency can be identified with a simple standardized near point of convergence test (NPC) that can be administered by almost anyone. It can then be corrected through vision therapy.

Vision therapy is a specialized branch of optometry that involves a sequence of office based activities individually prescribed and monitored by the doctor to develop efficient visual skills and processing. A vision therapy program is designed based on the results of standardized vision tests, the needs of the patient, and the patient’s signs and symptoms at the initial examination. Vision therapy does not simply attempt to strengthen ocular muscles but to improve the brains ability to control the visual system. The results of vision therapy are a significant improvement to quality of life and overall wellness.