Mayo Clinic: Can Convergence Insufficiency be Treated?

Dr. Russel Lazarus, October 22, 2021

Convergence insufficiency affects up to 4 children in every class, but it can be successfully treated.

Convergence insufficiency is a condition that causes the eyes to misalign when focused on close objects due to problems with the eyes’ muscles.

When focused on a word or object at close range, one eye tends to move outward, resulting in blurred or double vision.

Mayo Clinic: successful treatment of convergence insufficiency

1. Vision therapy

Vision therapy and eye-focusing exercises can help improve convergence.

Vision therapy must involve both in-office and at-home activities for optimal results.

In-office exercises:

This treatment is carried out in your doctor’s office. You’ll do visual exercises with your doctor’s advice to help your eyes work together. Each 60-minute session is repeated once or twice a week.

In-office therapy is more effective than home exercises alone in children and young adults.

At-home activities:

Doctors frequently recommend both in-office and at-home workouts to attain the best results.

These activities are usually carried out 3-4 times each week for up to 30 minutes. The eye doctor or vision therapist will assign personalized tasks based on the child’s progress.

SEE RELATED: Can Glasses or Eye Patches Treat Convergence Insufficiency?

Consult with an eye doctor near you if your child has any attention or reading below grade level.

Find an Eye Doctor for Convergence Insufficiency

2. Prism glasses

To reduce double vision, your eye doctor may prescribe prism eyeglasses, these may be required for severe cases of CI or if double vision occurs. The prism lenses function by bending light, eliminating the eye strain or double vision and reducing the symptoms.

Convergence insufficiency will not be corrected with lenses. It’s a temporary solution that’s less effective than vision therapy.

3. Computer vision therapy

Computers are being used more frequently to provide parts of a vision therapy program. Computer exercises resemble games, they can be enjoyable for children and teenagers

This necessitates the usage of a specific program that can be run on a home computer and available from your eye doctor.

These exercises help to enhance convergence by forcing the eyes to focus. You can see the results online or print the results to show your doctor once when you’ve completed the exercises.

Computer vision therapy alone is generally less effective than a complete vision therapy program.

Mayo Clinic: Less effective treatment of convergence insufficiency

1. Pencil pushups

Convergence insufficiency used to be treated with pencil pushups, but these are now shown to have less success than vision therapy or other options above.

Pencil pushups are not as effective as in-office therapy, but they’re a free workout you can perform at home. 

Here’s the exercise: Hold a pencil at arm’s length.  Concentrate on the pencil until a single image appears. Next, slowly move it up toward your nose until it doubles in size.

This workout is often performed for 15 minutes per day, at least 5 days a week.

Bottom line

Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2020) published a study that shows office-based vision therapy combined with at-home activities is more successful for children than pencil push-ups or computer-based therapy.

Convergence insufficiency treatment can take three months or longer. However, symptoms may reoccur after illness, lack of sleep, or when reading a lot of text or engaging in other kinds of close work.

LEARN MORE:  Vision Therapy for Children

Consult with an eye doctor near you if your child has any reading or learning difficulties.

Convergence insufficiency affects up to 4 children in every class, but it can be successfully treated.