Treatment options for convergence insufficiency include:
- Pencil pushups. In this simple exercise, you focus on a small letter on the side of a pencil as you move it closer to the bridge of your nose, stopping the movement if you have double vision. Your doctor may suggest you do this at home for 15 minutes a day, five or more days a week.
- Office or home-based vision therapy. You can do eye-focusing exercises to improve convergence. If you do this at home on a computer, you can print your results to share with your eye doctor.
- Combined therapy. Many experts recommend using vision therapy — often with computer software programs — along with pencil pushups. The combined approach may be more effective. And the computer-assisted therapy may be more engaging for children.
- Reading glasses. If computer therapy or exercises don't help, your doctor may suggest you use glasses with built-in prisms for reading. This is usually more effective for children.
- Continued observation. It's possible to receive a diagnosis of convergence insufficiency but not show any signs or symptoms. If this is true for you, watch for symptoms when you're reading or doing close work. Your doctor may want to retest you sometime in the future.
- Surgery. In rare cases, if exercises or computer-assisted therapy doesn't work, your doctor may recommend surgery.
Studies show that vision therapy at a doctor's office is more effective than doing eye exercises or computer-assisted therapy at home. Other aspects to consider before choosing a treatment are cost and convenience.
You will likely see improvement in your symptoms after four weeks of doing exercises or computer-assisted therapy. Treatment can offer long-standing relief of the symptoms of convergence insufficiency. But symptoms may come back:
- After an illness
- If you don't get enough sleep
- When you're doing a lot of reading or other close work
Another round of treatment will usually help.
June 20, 2014
- Convergence insufficiency. American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. http://www.aapos.org/terms/show/38. Accessed Feb. 7, 2014.
- Scheiman M, et al. Non-surgical interventions for convergence insufficiency. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD006768.pub2/abstract. Accessed Feb. 7, 2014.
- Borsting E, et al. Improvement in academic behaviors after successful treatment of convergence insufficiency. Optometry and Vision Science. 2012;89:12.
- Westman M, et al. Relief of asthenopic symptoms with orthoptic exercises in convergence insufficiency is achieved in both adults and children. Journal of Optometry. 2012;5:62.