When you put a pencil in front of your face, what do you see? How about a book? Many of us can easily see the pencil that’s placed in front of our face or the rows of words on the pages of a book. We can see these things clear and single because with nearby objects, our eyes both turn inward to focus. This is known as convergence. Each eye sends an individual image to the brain and if both images are the same, the brain produces a normal, clear, single vision image. However, not everybody’s eyes are the same. There are those whose eyes have trouble turning inward and, instead, have a tendency to drift outward. When our eyes aren’t properly converging, we experience blurred or double vision. The root cause of this is often convergence insufficiency.
Those with convergence insufficiency send nonidentical images to their brain. Since their eyes aren’t working together to converge, they don’t send identical images. Blurry and double vision is a result of this. Plus, since their eyes do not naturally posture inward, they tend to exert more effort in forcing their eyes to converge. This additional effort leads to discomfort and to a variety of symptoms such as like headaches and eyestrain.
Convergence insufficiency is actually very common. It affects about 20 million people in the United States, adults and children alike. About 1 in 12 children experience this issue, but they aren’t even aware of it. Even their parents are clueless to the fact that their children can’t properly see. A common mistake that parents make is solely relying on school vision screenings to determine the health of their child’s eyes. These vision screenings don’t usually test for the eye’s ability to properly work together, but to see if the kids have 20/20 vision.
Convergence insufficiency can greatly impact one’s ability to learn, read, and even pay attention. Headaches, loss of concentration and attention, moving words and eye fatigue are common symptoms that occur. These symptoms make it beyond difficult for kids to learn efficiently at school. These children then end up developing a negative mindset and begin believing that they aren’t as smart as the other children.
Currently, the absolute best treatment for convergence insufficiency is vision therapy! Vision therapy is a physical treatment composed of various exercises that help train your eyes to work together properly. It is a program composed of weekly visits to an optometry office that can help patients to improve their visual skills and aid in processing visual information. The success rate is extremely high as shown in the CITT (Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trials) conducted by both optometrists and ophthalmologist across the United States.
Schedule a vision therapy evaluation at Insight Vision Center to learn more from Dr. Valerie Lam or Dr. Thanh Mai! Serving the communities of Costa Mesa, Irvine, Newport Beach, Tustin, Santa Ana, Hungtington Beach, Orange, Fountain Valley, Anaheim, and the rest of Orange County.