Homework problems? Check your eyes.

If your child gets headaches or eye strain during homework time, or even if he or she has reading problems, optometrists suggest an eye exam. As many as one in twenty children suffer from “convergence insufficiency”, in which the eye muscles must work harder to focus on text. The eyes have to turn slightly inward to focus on close work, and children with CI have trouble with this. As a result, words may be blurred or doubled, and the left-to-right tracking necessary for reading may be difficult.

Because books for younger children use large text and pictures, little convergence is necessary. CI is usually not diagnosed until reading and homework demands increase. A recent study published in the October 2008 issue of Archives of Opthamology found that almost 75 percent of children treated using a 12-week program at their doctor’s office greatly improved.

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