As many of you know, in February M was diagnosed with C.I., also known as convergence Insufficiency. A year before a trip toma developmental optometrist to check out her claims of having a hard time seeing sometimes showed delayed ocular motor development. Because she also had delayed fine motor skills and was only in preschool, the doctor wanted to follow up with her in a year to see if she had improved. (Gross motor develops first, then fine motor, then ocular motor.)
This winter, testing showed that M had significant trouble focusing her eyes. They would not track properly or work together…when required to focus on an object up close her eyes would start to shake, then her left eye would turn away in the other direction or up into her eyelid. Her eyes had to work very hard to not see double, and she was sometimes seeing double anyway. The doctor wanted to wait 6 months to see if she outgrew this convergence insufficiency, but warned she could get worse quickly and to come back if she had a hard time with school work, complained of headaches or double vision, etc.
M cried all that evening from eye fatigue and went to bed early. She seemed to steadily decline from there, complaining throughout the day at school (especially ‘close work’ times) of eye pain, then headaches, then blurred vision and occasional double vision. At home she refused to do any writing/drawing homework, but I was unsure if that was due to her fine motor or vision problems.
Today I explained all of this to the optometrist and he did some more specific, in-depth testing to check her tracking/focusing abilities. It was even worse than we thought. Her ability to use her eyes together to focus and track is significantly impaired, to the point that even the doctor was surprised that she is doing as well as she is. At this point, to take the strain off of her eyes, we are going to use glasses with low level, light lenses. She will go back in a month to see if that is enough, or if she needs additional help such as higher level lenses and/or vision therapy. She may outgrow this impairment in a year or two, or she may not. Right now the concern is to help her be able to focus and see comfortably enough to learn in school and do her work, and to preserve her vision (in extreme cases of C.I. you may lose vision in one eye as it shuts down to keep from having double vision).
I am so glad we are on the road to helping M with her vision. I am also thankful that she is not concerned about wearing glasses. I assured her no one will make fun of her (most kids actually think glasses are cool) and she has been using mine to help her read, so she knows how much better she will feel. I am also glad I made the unconventional choice to take her to the developmental optometrist (last year she had just had her preK vision screening and it turned out fine). I am hopeful…who knows what all symptoms are caused by the pain, fatigue and frustration of trying to see properly, and might be improved with glasses? I can’t wait until she gets them next week and can start having relief!