Some vision disorders are harder to diagnose than others. Convergence insufficiency, or the ability to sustain a focus on a letter or word, can be tricky. When children are just learning to read, things seem to go well at the beginning of a reading session, but deteriorate as the session continues. They can focus quickly but cannot sustain the focus and then begin to fail to recognize letters or make sense of words. Makes sense. If you cannot focus, it is very hard to read.
Reading requires pulling your eyes in, or converging them, to a focal point a short distance away. Looking up lets your eyes relax, allowing them to diverge at a distance far off on the horizon. Contracting muscles for convergence at close distances takes practice and work, yet still, some children are simply unable to sustain that close focus for long, experiencing convergence insufficiency. If they are unable to converge at all, then the more severe condition of convergence inability is at hand.
Both convergence insufficiency and convergence inability are vision disorders that can be treated with vision therapy. Normally developed as a child begins to crawl, the convergence distance changed and encouraged development of the skill every time he or she raised up and gazed around or looked down at the floor. Further development happened on the playground equipment, reaching for bars, ropes and stairs.
If a child went from crawling to walking too quickly, or if they weren’t allowed the opportunity to exercise their physical skills on a playground often enough, they may have not fully developed these skills. There is also a genetic component, with vision disorders having a tendency to run in families.
Regardless of the reason, a solid program of vision therapy, designed by an experienced developmental optometrist like Dr. Tod Davis at Dr. Tod Davis Developmental Optometry and Vision Therapy Services, can teach your child to develop proper convergence skills. Don’t suffer through convergence issues that can be corrected. Put Dr. Davis and his team to work and get your child reaching for his or her full potential.