Convergence Insufficiency is an inability to use the two eyes together when focusing on a near object. This occurs when there is a loss of binocular function. Typically, when a person looks at a close object, the two eyes converge. In a patient with convergence insufficiency, one eye moves out. An exotropia is a misalignment of the eyes whereby the eyes turn out but this occurs at both distance and near and is not soley while attempting to see at near. An exotropia, however, can be caused by a convergence insufficency, if long-standing and severe.
Symptoms of convergence insufficiency include double vision, or diplopia, and headaches when reading. Many patients experience such symptoms after prolonged near activity.
Patients with a convergence insuffiency can be treated with near exercises, either at home, with an orthoptist or a optometrist who specializes in visual therapy. There are also computer programs that can help patients with this condition. Prisms can be prescribed by an Ophthalmologist to either exercise the eye or aid in convergence. Base-out prisms help exercise the eyes and base-in prism give patients help. Magnifiers can also help with symptoms. Most patients with convergence insufficiency do not have a significant refractive error.
If you feel your child has difficulty in this area, please feel free to make an appointment for a full exam.