What is It, Why It Can Go Undiagnosed and How to Treat It
Convergence Insufficiency (CI) is a common eye-teaming problem in which the eyes have difficulty turning in to read and see during up close work. It is the #1 visual issue to cause eyestrain, blurry vision, double vision (diplopia), as well as headaches. It often leads to loss of concentration/attention when reading. Take a look at the image below and imagine how difficult it would be keep your focus when text appears to move/swim when attempting to read.
Why It Goes Undiagnosed?
A visit to your pediatrician may entail a brief screening to see if your child can see small letters on a chart hanging from the wall or door. A school screening is equally insufficient and falls short of testing the necessary visual skills a child needs for success in school. Convergence insufficiency is an issue of eye teaming (binocular vision) that occurs during reading, or computer use (consider this day and age — this includes video/remote learning with the use of a tablet). Now consider how your child’s eyes are tested at the pediatrician’s office or at school — often with each eye covered, but always in the distance. Is that a good test to predict a child’s ability to use his/her eyes when reading?
How Do You Treat It?
The science is in and it says THE most successful way to treatment convergence insufficiency is by office-based Optometric Vision Therapy. According to the research there was a statistically significant improvement in symptoms as well as improvement in visual skills necessary for efficiency and comfort during reading and up close work in the office-based Vision Therapy group vs. the home-based computer program or basic pencil push-ups.
What Isn’t a Proven Treatment?
Pencil push-ups have long been dismissed as a treatment for convergence insufficiency and should not be recommended by any eye care provider.
While prism glasses have been shown to have temporary value in individuals who have suffered concussion/brain injury with resultant convergence insufficiency, they are not the treatment of choice for any other instances of diagnosed convergence insufficiency. A new type of prism lens (Neurolens) has been marketed as a ‘treatment’ for eye alignment issues resulting in symptoms, many of which are consistent with convergence insufficiency. The patient is required to wear the lenses at all times, and as such it should be obvious this is no fix, but akin to taking medication to cover up a headache. Additionally, as the cost of one pair of glasses is not inexpensive (~1/2 of an complete Vision Therapy program) it’s important to understand a person will forever require the speciality prism glasses and will never truly address the convergence issue as Vision Therapy would have fixed.
Contact us to learn about the permanent improvement and success our office provides to patients with convergence insufficiency. The therapy process does not have to be long, or expensive, to have a lasting impact on you/your child’s eyes. Please call our Omaha Vision Therapy office at (402) 502-0043 with any questions and we’d be happy to let you know if you’d be a candidate for a functional/binocular vision evaluation to determine if vision therapy could help permanently alleviate your/your child’s visual symptoms. Or visit the foremost organization on visual issues that impact children at COVD.org