What's in this article?
Convergence insufficiency overview
Convergence insufficiency is the inability to maintain binocular function (keeping the two eyes working together) while working at a near distance. Typically, one eye will turn outward (intermittent exotropia) when focusing on a word or object at near.
Symptoms of Convergence insufficiency
Not everyone with convergence insufficiency experiences symptoms. Signs and symptoms occur while you’re reading or doing other close work and may include:
- Difficulty reading words blur or seem to move on the page
- Double vision
- Difficulty concentrating
- Squinting or closing one eye
Difference between convergence insufficiency and exotropia?
In convergence insufficiency, eye misalignment occurs when focusing at near. Occasionally, a well controlled intermittent exotropia (outward eye turning) will be present at near and distance in a patient with convergence weakness; however, in convergence insufficiency the deviation is symptomatic and occurs spontaneously only when focusing on near objects.
Causes of Convergence insufficiency
Convergence insufficiency results from misalignment of the eyes when focusing on nearby objects. The exact cause isn’t known, but the misalignment involves the muscles that move the eye. Typically, one eye drifts outward when you’re focusing on a nearby word or object.
Treatment for convergence insufficiency
Convergence insufficiency can often be treated by practicing convergence through exercises. These exercises may be prescribed by an orthoptist (a medical technician who is specifically trained in ocular muscle function and binocular vision) or by an ophthalmologist. There is also a program available which may be used on a home computer to increase convergence ability. The results of the computer program are often followed by your eye care professional with print outs that can be brought in to the office visit.
Which method of treatment will be used for an individual patient depends on the age of the patient requiring treatment, the proximity to an orthoptist or vision therapist and the preference of the patient. Important aspects to consider in choosing a treatment regimen are the convenience and expense of treatment as any method chosen tends to be successful if the prescribed regimen in followed. Most studies show that a short course of treatment is usually successful. Prolonged therapy does not show significant advantages and is usually unnecessary.
Complications of Convergence insufficiency
Difficulties with reading and concentrating can adversely affect a child’s learning. Convergence insufficiency typically isn’t detected in routine eye exams or school-based vision screenings. A child with the condition may be evaluated for learning disabilities because of his or her reading troubles.