Tuesday, October 11, 2011

20/20 hindsight

A quick departure from farm chat.

Our son, who possesses a unique and engaging intellect and sometimes surprising empathy but has been fiercely frustrated in school, was recently diagnosed with a vision disorder called Convergence Insufficiency. The condition is just what it sounds like - the two eyes do not work together well enough.

Convergence Insufficiency can have dramatic repercussions. Headaches, dizziness, blurred vision. In Dylan's case, believe it or not, he has seen pretty much everything closer than 4 feet in double-vision his whole life. Reading, writing, computing, conversation - if he relaxes, everything within arm's length and a bit beyond all goes double.

He thought everyone saw this way.

The good news is, it's treatable and curable. He started eye therapy with an opthamologist yesterday and with daily exercises, he should be able to train his eyes within a year. But when I think back to the myriad "talks" about his distractability, his disengagement, his daydreaming, to the frustration his teachers expressed at his "lack of interest"...tears inevitably well up.

But, I'm looking forward, not back.

Convergence insufficiency is a largely undiagnosed phenomenon. School screenings and sometimes even regular eye exams don't catch it. As much as 20% of the population is suffering from it to some degree and most of them don't know it.

If you experience any of the symptoms, ask for a test. Most importantly, have your children tested when they're in elementary school. School's hard enough, they shouldn't have to spend all their energy just to see.

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