Convergence Insufficiency (CI) is a common eye coordination disorder where your eyes struggle to work together when focusing on a nearby object. As many as 15% of all children are affected by this eye condition.
Imagine you're reading a book, and instead of the text staying sharp and clear, it becomes blurry or doubled. Frustrating, right? The eyes are designed to work as a well-coordinated team, but with CI, they drop the ball.
If you're wondering, "Is this just a fancy term for being nearsighted?", the answer is no. Convergence insufficiency is not about how clearly each eye can see, but how well they can work together. Unlike simple vision problems that can often be corrected with eyeglasses, CI often requires specialized treatment.
For a more in-depth understanding of this condition, check out our article on What is Convergence Insufficiency.
Treating Convergence Insufficiency is far more than a quick fix. Instead, it demands a multifaceted approach that may include specialized glasses, home exercises, and, most effectively, Vision Therapy (VT). A study funded by the National Institute of Health specifically aimed at children with visual skill problems like CI concluded that active Vision Therapy outperformed alternatives such as reading or placebo glasses. The key takeaway? Glasses alone can't teach essential visual skills like tracking and convergence that Vision Therapy can.
"Vision Therapy has been highly effective, with success rates in the 90th percentile."
In our Vision Therapy program, we hold weekly sessions coupled with "home support activities" designed to reinforce the skills learned in the therapy room. This isn't a static program. We actively monitor your progress weekly and make adjustments as needed. If you're finding the exercises too challenging, we'll simplify them. Conversely, if you're breezing through them, we'll up the complexity to ensure you're continually challenged.
Success in treating CI doesn't have a one-size-fits-all definition. For some, it might mean reading at or above their grade level. For others, especially those dealing with other learning challenges like dyslexia, success might be about improving visual skills and the overall functionality of the visual system. What's universal, however, is that in nearly 95% of cases, we can significantly improve these aspects by diligently screening patients, tailoring vision therapy plans, and conducting regular reassessment.
Our end goal is not just to correct a vision issue but to improve your overall quality of life. Whether it's reading a book without strain, excelling in sports, or simply enjoying the beauty of the world around you, tackling CI can have profound, long-lasting effects.
Various software programs offer a slew of exercises designed to improve eye coordination and reduce symptoms. Though effective, these programs are not a standalone cure for CI.
Prism glasses can help some people by altering the light path and aiding the eyes in focusing together. But remember, they generally offer only temporary relief. For most individuals, achieving long-term improvement will require a more comprehensive approach, possibly involving vision therapy or other treatments.
For those whose CI is triggered by traumatic brain injuries or neurological disorders, a specialized form of vision therapy, often referred to as Neuro Optometric Rehabilitation, may be the best course of action. These are complicated cases that require a thorough assessment and treatment from professionals who specialize in neuro-optometry.
Any successful treatment strategy must include regular check-ups to monitor progress. Re-evaluating your symptoms and making necessary adjustments to your treatment plan is crucial for long-term improvement.
Choosing the right treatment option isn't just about eliminating symptoms; it's about improving your quality of life. With the right guidance, commitment, and a personalized approach, treating CI is not just possible; it's probable.
One of the challenging aspects of Convergence Insufficiency is that the symptoms might not always be glaringly obvious. You or your child might be experiencing signs but not realize they're connected to an eye condition.
If you experience double vision frequently, you might find our Double Vision Quiz beneficial.
The symptoms can manifest in simple daily tasks. Reading, computer work, or even catching a ball in sports becomes a struggle. Imagine trying to concentrate on a page when the words seem to swim around or appear double! It's not just exhausting; it can affect performance in school and at work.
For children, the signs may be subtle. You might notice they avoid reading or homework, often lose their place while reading, or use a finger to guide their eyes. Early detection is vital, as CI can hamper academic progress and self-esteem. Our guide on Pediatric Eye Exams provides detailed information on when and how to get your child's eyes checked.
In any case, if these symptoms ring a bell, it's crucial to get an eye exam. At Amplify EyeCare, we specialize in the Management of Ocular Diseases, including CI.
In order to test the efficacy of vision therapy as a means to treating convergence insufficiency, the Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial, known as the CITT was conducted, The CITT was a gold standard, double-blind treatment trial in which the National Eye Institute evaluated the results of patients who were administered vision therapy in-office, were given eye exercises to perform at home, and were put in a placebo group. After years of study statistical analysis proved that in-office vision therapy treatment was the most effective, long-lasting treatment for convergence insufficiency.
Even if your vision is 20/20, you may struggle to see things clearly and strain-free. For some people, the eyes know what to do but can’t do them effectively. For others, the eyes need a little help functioning the best they can. Vision therapy for convergence insufficiency is a well-researched, evidence-based practice that can improve what you see, how you see, and your ability to appreciate what you see.