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By Sharon Summers, Ed.D.

Information on this page is not intended as medical advice. Concerns about your child's vision should be addressed directly with a qualified health care professional.

Convergence Insufficiency is a vision problem that happens when a person's eyes don't focus correctly when they are looking at a book or another up-close item. The ability of both eyes to turn and work together is called binocular function. Binocular function is controlled by a set of muscles around a person's eyes. A person with Convergency Insufficiency may have 20-20 vision but has poor binocular function.

Some children who experience problems with reading may have a Convergence Insufficiency problem, rather than a learning disability. Both sets of children will experience underachievement and frustration with reading, but their symptoms and causes will be very different.

While no list of symptoms is complete or will be seen in all children, you can begin to tease apart the possible cause for poor reading achievement by considering the following.

Symptoms Associated with Different Types of Reading Problems

Comparison checklist between dyslexia and convergence insufficiency

If you suspect a vision problem may be affecting your child's ability to meet their full reading potential, following up with a developmental optometrist or an ophthalmologist may be appropriate. In addition to a regular eye exam, the vision specialist should measure near point convergence and assess positive fusional vergence to determine focus and double vision.

Dr. Summers brings 30+ years of teaching (e.g. public school, Higher Education), leadership, and consulting to Hand In Hand. She is the recipient of the 2005 National Center for Leadership in Visual Impairment Fellowship. Dr. Summers specializes in conducting independent evaluations for students suspected of having a visual impairment, cortical visual impairments, and for developing visual fluency in students with multiple disabilities. Dr. Summers oversees Special Education consultations for Hand in Hand.

More Resources and Articles About Reading Problems


April 02, 2020


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