Vision Therapy for Convergence Insufficiency
Research shows that Convergence Insufficiency (CI) can affect up to 15% of all school-age children — that’s approximately 1 in 6 children!
CI refers to a decreased ability to bring the eyes inwards and comfortably maintain this focus over long periods of time. The inwards positioning of the eyes is required to read books, do homework and look at a computer screen. As you can imagine, having CI could significantly impact a student’s learning ability, attention levels and overall school performance.
Convergence Insufficiency can also result in blurred or double vision, a halo effect around words or objects or words appear to be ‘floating’ on a page.
This condition not only negatively impacts a child’s school grades but can also affect their emotional wellbeing, as frequent and repeated failures can cause their self-esteem and confidence levels to plummet.
CI cannot be corrected with eyeglasses or surgery. However, vision therapy has been proven to improve the eye’s coordination abilities and alleviate discomfort when reading, doing homework or any other activities involving the visual system.
If you suspect that you or your child may have convergence insufficiency, contact Dr. Colette Whiting and Dr. Sandra Gillis-Kennedy at the Shelburne Primary EyeCare today. We can help.
Could My Child Have Convergence Insufficiency?
As you may derive from the list below, a child’s academic performance could be significantly impacted if they experience any of the following symptoms.
Students with convergence insufficiency may experience any, or several, of the following symptoms:
- Reading below grade level
- Not achieving to potential at school
- Dislikes doing homework
- Attention issues
- Double vision
- Blurry vision
- Tired when reading
- Difficulties with concentrating
- Often losing your place when reading
- Words appear to move, jump, or float on the page
- Motion sickness or vertigo
How Can Vision Therapy Help?
It’s important to understand that the eye muscles are actually healthy in those with CI. The issue is the brain’s ability to control and coordinate the way both eyes work together. When the brain and eye interaction functions effectively, it enables us to easily read words on the board, in a book, catch a ball and maintain focus throughout the day.
Vision therapy for CI trains the brain to better control and coordinate both eyes in order to increase the child’s ability to maintain clear and comfortable focus. As the brain-eye teamwork improves, the symptoms listed above are slowly alleviated. Vision therapists can also work on convergence insufficiency treatment methods to potentially recover depth perception and 3D stereo vision.
A functional eye exam will determine whether you or your child have convergence insufficiency, and if so, Dr. Colette Whiting and Dr. Sandra Gillis-Kennedy will provide vision therapy treatment to correct it.
Is Vision Therapy Effective in Adults and Children Alike?
Vision therapy treatment is most effective in childhood since the rapidly developing brain is easily trained to make permanent changes. That said, convergence insufficiency treatment for adults is still very effective but may take a bit longer to experience results, thus requiring a little more patience.
The Vision Therapy Process
A developmental optometrist and vision therapist will tailor a vision therapy plan according to the severity of the convergence problem. The [eye doctor] and vision therapist will then guide you and monitor your progress to determine what changes or adaptations need to be made throughout your customized program.
Convergence insufficiency treatment exercises may use specialized equipment and tools such as prisms, lenses and computerized technology, to stimulate the brain to better control the two eyes simultaneously.
Results depend on your active participation and compliance with the program, whether in-office or at home. Overtime, the more you train your brain, the easier and more automated the exercises will become. Gains can be experienced from as little as a few weeks to six months or more.
We encourage you to schedule a meeting with Shelburne Primary EyeCare at the first sign of convergence insufficiency in your child. At Shelburne Primary EyeCare, we will be happy to help your child achieve the best opportunity to improve their reading and learning and improve their overall school performance.
We serve patients from Shelburne, Melancthon, Alliston, Collingwood and throughout Dufferin County.