For people with normal vision, the eyes work together to form a single image. The transition from looking at faraway objects to those nearby causes the lenses to slightly change shape and the pupils to shrink, while both eyes move toward the midline. This process is called convergence, and it’s necessary to see single images in focus. Everyday tasks that require coordinating complex eye movements with the brain, like reading and writing, are made possible through convergence.
With convergence insufficiency (CI), your eyes and brain struggle to work together to focus on nearby objects, causing blurred vision, double vision, or eye strain. Convergence insufficiency is common, especially in women, younger people, or those with a family history of CI. Jobs that require heavy computer usage may also put you at greater risk.
Convergence Insufficiency Causes and Symptoms
While experts aren’t sure exactly what causes CI, genetics are believed to play a role, as well as health conditions like head injury, Graves’ disease, myasthenia gravis, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s.
Symptoms of convergence insufficiency vary by cause and manifest in different ways. The list includes headaches, double vision, eye fatigue, blurred vision, sleepiness when reading, trouble concentrating or holding your place while reading, seeing “moving” words on the page, and motion sickness or vertigo. You may also notice your eyes turning out or find yourself squinting frequently. If you think CI might be affecting your vision, familiarize yourself with these symptoms and watch out for them during long periods of close visual work.
Convergence Insufficiency Testing and Treatment
If you suspect yourself or a loved one of living with convergence insufficiency, it’s time to visit a developmental optometrist. Your doctor will conduct a thorough examination to evaluate your visual sharpness separately, then perform several tests to assess the ability of your eyes and brain to work together during different tasks.
If you receive a positive CI diagnosis, you can begin treating your symptoms. Common treatments include eye exercises (at home and in the office), the use of prism lenses, and computer programs that increase convergence ability. (NOTE: I deleted surgery this is an option for strabismus not CI.)
Contact OCVT Today
Living with CI makes everyday tasks pertaining to close visual acuity increasingly difficult. Improving visual health is important for reading, writing, and performing other up-close visual activities with ease and confidence—especially for developing school children.
We help our patients regain their visual ability with doctor-prescribed and supervised clinical sessions fine-tuned to their needs. If you think you may suffer from CI, contact OCVT today. Our thorough evaluation process will help determine your next steps toward seeing more clearly and confidently.