What is Convergence Insufficiency?
Convergence insufficiency is a common vision disorder in which the inability of both eyes to point simultaneously at a near object often causes blurry or double vision due to an inability to overcome visual stress. When the brain receives signals for the eyes to converge, disparate images sent via the optic nerves direct the eye muscles to converge (turn inward) in order to maintain a clear, single, binocular image. Unfortunately, the visual system is not always able to cope with the physical stress of convergence, which can cause a variety of symptoms related to reading, computer work, or other demanding visual activity.
Eye strain, fluctuating blurry vision, double vision, headaches, and difficulty concentrating on near visual tasks are classic signs of convergence insufficiency. Children with undiagnosed convergence insufficiency may appear to have short attention spans, squint and rub their eyes frequently, cover one eye with their hand to see better or complain of nausea or dizziness when reading. In some cases, children with CI may even be misdiagnosed with ADD or other behavioral disorders. Other signs of possible convergence insufficiency in children include avoiding physical activity requiring high levels of depth perception (playing ball, riding bikes), tripping on uneven surfaces, refusing to make eye contact or tilting the head for no apparent reason.
Convergence insufficiency is almost never caught by a normal school vision screening or vision screenings performed by pediatricians or other medical offices. Even in a routine vision exam by an eye doctor, it is often missed. Developmental optometrists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of convergence insufficiency and other binocular disorders. Mountainview Vision Therapy receives patient referrals from over 100 providers in the Yakima valley, Ellensburg and Wenatchee areas. Many of these patients are referred due to symptoms of convergence insufficiency. If you or your child are experiencing eye strain, headaches, or double vision when reading or working on the computer , please call us to schedule an evaluation. You do not need a referral, and we are happy to answer questions over the phone.
Vision therapy helps improve convergence ability by training the visual system. This therapy is done by trained vision therapists under the direction of a developmental optometrist, and may include the use of glasses, prisms, and exercises aimed at helping the individual improve the coordination of the eyes in order to effortlessly cope with the demands of near visual activity.
The American Optometric Association and the College of Optometrists in Vision Development recommend vision therapy to treat convergence insufficiency. Results from the Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial, a study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and published in the Archives of Ophthalmology show that 75 percent of pediatric participants who received in-office vision therapy by a trained vision therapist had fewer and less severe symptoms associated with reading and other near work.
To learn more about convergence insufficiency and how vision therapy can help you relieve your symptoms, contact us at Mountainview Vision Therapy today at 509-972-6688. Our developmental optometrists are eager to help members of our community improve their quality of life through visual performance.