What is Convergence Insufficiency?

Convergence Insufficiency (CI) is a common eye-teaming problem that results from misalignment of the eyes when focusing on up close, such as when reading. The eyes have a strong tendency to drift outward when reading or doing close up work. The exact cause is unknown.

Convergence Insufficiency affects both children and adults. 

In this post, we’ll outline what CI is, how CI is sometimes misdiagnosed, the symptoms of CI, and our most frequently asked questions about CI. 

Convergence Insufficiency Symptoms

Convergence Insufficiency can come with many different symptoms, and some of those symptoms present in the same way as reading difficulties, such as dyslexia. But, while dyslexia is a language disorder, CI is a visual disorder. 

Symptoms of Convergence Insufficiency may include:

  • Blurred vision

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Difficulty reading

  • Dizziness or motion sickness

  • Double vision

  • Eyestrain

  • Headaches

  • Short attention span

  • Squinting or closing one eye

  • Words that are blurry or seem to “move”, “float”, or “jump” on the page

How Common is Convergence Insufficiency?

The CITT, or Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial, is a multi-center study funded by the National Institutes of Health. 
Members of the CITT found that Convergence Insufficiency occurs in approximately 10-15% of the general population; with 45% of children with Convergence Insufficiency reporting attention problems. A recent Romanian study revealed that approximately 3 in 5 (60.4%) of young adult patients who complained of blurred vision while performing near work suffered from Convergence Insufficiency. Studies conducted by the Southern California College of Optometry found that approximately 1 in 8 (13%) of fifth and six grade children examined had Convergence Insufficiency as did nearly 1 in 5 (17.6%) of 8 to 12 year olds.

Convergence Insufficiency is present in both children and adults, and is not a condition that people “out grow”.

Convergence Insufficiency is most closely associated with reading difficulties. This often leads parents or educators to suspect a learning disability or dyslexia (which is a language based disorder) rather than a vision problem.

Convergence Insufficiency Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few of the most common questions we receive. If you would like more information,  please never hesitate to give us a call. We're here to help!

Question #1: Can Convergence Insufficiency be treated?

Once diagnosed, Convergence Insufficiency can be treated most effectively using an in office based vision therapy program. A large-scale, randomized Convergence Insufficiency clinical trial was published in 2008. The clinical trial showed that office-based vision therapy was more effective than either home-based treatments or computer vision therapy. The results show that about 90% of the children in the office-based vision therapy group remained asymptomatic one year later.

Question #2: Can prism glasses fix the problem?

An earlier CITT investigator group completed a randomized clinical trial in 2005 comparing the effectiveness of base-in prism reading glasses and placebo reading glasses. The results, published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology, showed that the base-in prism glasses were no more effective than placebo glasses. The conclusion of the group was that base-in prism glasses are not an effective treatment for children with symptomatic Convergence Insufficiency.

Question #3: Do pencil push-ups work?

The CITT investigator group also completed the only two randomized clinical trials that have investigated the use of pencil push-ups in the treatment of Convergence Insufficiency. In both studies the results showed that pencil push-ups are no more effective than placebo treatment.

Question #4: Does patching an eye cure Convergence Insufficiency?

Patching is not an option to treat Convergence Insufficiency because wearing a patch over one eye will disrupt the ability to establish, enhance or strengthen binocular function (use the two eyes together). Some patients choose to patch one eye temporarily in order to relieve double vision during times of increased workload and duration of near work tasks.

Diagnosing and Treating Convergence Insufficiency 

Once diagnosed, Convergence Insufficiency can be treated most effectively using an in office based vision therapy program. We can diagnose Convergence Insufficiency with a binocular vision examination, and we offer the research-proven, recommended office-based vision therapy program to treat CI. 

We have been treating Convergence Insufficiency since 1991 – delivering results in months, not years.

At Advanced Vision Therapy Center we provide effective treatment for Convergence Insufficiency, for both children and adults. Want to learn more? Please give us a call at 208.377.1310.

Posted by Advanced Vision Therapy Center at 3/31/2021 8:12:00 PM
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