August is National Children’s Vision and Learning Month! This marks an important time of the year for public awareness of a critically important set of visual problems that can have serious impact on a child’s ability to apply him or herself in reading or other classroom activities in learning.  Parents are stepping up to tell their stories, like the one below by Kathleen Hayford who posted her child’s story on Pinterest.

“Our son struggled in school starting in second grade, once reading was required. He was frustrated, anxious, complained of frequent dizziness and headaches and was withdrawn socially. Over the years, he was diagnosed with various disorders, including ADD, Processing Disorders, Sensory Integration Dysfunction, anxiety, OCD. He had Occupational Therapy, Psycho Therapy, medication, and EEGs. Every year his vision was tested and he was 20/20. Clarity was fine.”

“Davis would scream out, ‘I’m stupid!’ more times than I’d like to remember,” Hayford continues. “He thought so little of himself.  Constantly frustrated, he developed anxiety that interfered with every aspect of his young life. It was heartbreaking for us as parents knowing he was a remarkable and intelligent boy, trying everything we could think of to help him, and not finding the appropriate help.

“Based on a tutor’s suspicion he had Dyslexia, Davis was referred to a Developmental Optometrist who tested and diagnosed him with Convergence Insufficiency, an eye tracking problem, and accommodation disorders to compensate. Basically, he had suffered with double vision because his eyes did not track together.”

After completing optometric vision therapy, Hayford shares, “He’s a new boy!!! He’s off the variety of medications he was on and is now an A/B student with increased confidence, less anxiety, and has better relationships. He is happier and has hope for his future. I wish we could have spared him the years of struggling and pain.”

A common theme within these parents stories of their children who have struggled, is a relatively common condition known as Convergence Insufficiency (CI). There are many reasons why obstacles block public awareness for this condition that affects over 20 million.  One reason could be its unusual name…Convergence Insufficiency. What is Convergence Insufficiency?  Take a look at this video produced by vision advocacy group, The VisionHelp and see if you have a better insight. Then please let us know your thoughts with a comment. We would especially like to hear from parents. Please speak out if you have a child who has struggled. Let’s all help make the 2012 August National Children’s Vision and Learning Month an event that will truly help more children struggle less due to an undetected vision problem…like Convergence Insufficiency!

Dan L. Fortenbacher, O.D., FCOVD