Do you sometimes have difficulty completing close work? Do you experience blurry or double vision when reading for prolonged periods? If so, you may have a convergence insufficiency which is a common binocular vision disorder. Fortunately, it is treatable and our staff is here to help you on your journey.
What is Convergence Insufficiency?
Convergence insufficiency (CI) is an eye disorder in which your eyes are unable to work together while looking at close or nearby objects. This will cause one eye to turn outward leading to eyestrain, headaches, or double vision.
When you look at a nearby object, your eyes move inward together to focus, and this is known as convergence. Convergence insufficiency refers to the inability to maintain binocular (two-eyed) vision while doing closer work such as reading.
There is no direct cause that results in convergence insufficiency, but it is mostly thought to occur due to weakened visual muscles that are responsible for moving your eyes.
Common signs or symptoms of convergence insufficiency may include:
- Double vision
- Blurred vision
- Difficulty concentrating
- Tired eyes
Not all individuals with convergence insufficiency have symptoms or show signs.
It is common for convergence insufficiency to go undiagnosed, especially in children. Undiagnosed, it can appear as though the child has difficulty learning as it cannot be detected during vision screenings.
If you suspect you or a loved one has convergence insufficiency, schedule a comprehensive eye exam, and mention your concerns. During your examination, your doctor will measure your convergence ability and see how well you can use your eyes together before experiencing symptoms such as blurry or double vision.
Sometimes we find that patients who do not experience any symptoms or difficulties may not need treatment, but we will continue to monitor the condition.
As mentioned above, convergence insufficiency is entirely treatable. Treatment will depend on the age of the patient, patient preference, condition, and access to our office.
Pencil push-ups are at-home exercises you can complete to strengthen your convergence ability. Begin by holding a pencil at arm’s length and focus on the pencil until you can see a single image. Next, slowly bring the pencil closer until you see double. This exercise should be practiced every day for at least 15 minutes.
In-office vision therapy is another treatment option where you will work with your doctor to complete various visual exercises. Each session typically lasts an hour and occurs once or twice a week. We find that this treatment option is ideal for children who have convergence insufficiency.
Computer vision therapy is also a good option for those who are unable to attend in-office appointments. These visual exercises can be completed on the computer with a specialized program. You can complete the tasks at home and then print your results to give to your doctor during your follow-up appointments.
Glasses and eye patches can help reduce symptoms, but do not strengthen visual muscles so they will not be adequate in correcting the condition.