Convergence insufficiency

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Convergence Insufficiency
Other namesConvergence disorder
SpecialtyOphthalmology, optometry Edit this on Wikidata

Convergence insufficiency is a sensory and neuromuscular anomaly of the binocular vision system, characterized by a reduced ability of the eyes to turn towards each other, or sustain convergence.


The symptoms and signs associated with convergence insufficiency are related to prolonged, visually demanding, near-centered tasks. They may include, but are not limited to, diplopia (double vision), asthenopia (eye strain), transient blurred vision, difficulty sustaining near-visual function, abnormal fatigue, headache, and abnormal postural adaptation, among others. In some cases, difficulty with making eye contact have been noted as a complaint amongst those affected.[citation needed] Note that some Internet resources confuse convergence and divergence dysfunction, reversing them.[citation needed]


Diagnosis of convergence insufficiency is made by an eye care professional skilled in binocular vision dysfunctions, such as an orthoptist, to rule out any organic disease. Convergence insufficiency is characterized by one or more of the following diagnostic findings: patient symptoms, high exophoria at near, reduced accommodative convergence/accommodation ratio, receded near point of convergence, and low fusional vergence ranges and/or facility. Some patients with convergence insufficiency have concurrent accommodative insufficiency—accommodative amplitudes should therefore also be measured in symptomatic patients.

Convergence insufficiency can cause difficulty learning to read.[1][2][3]


Convergence insufficiency may be treated with convergence exercises prescribed by an eyecare specialist trained in orthoptics or binocular vision anomalies (see: vision therapy). Some cases of convergence insufficiency are successfully managed by prescription of eyeglasses, sometimes with therapeutic prisms.

Pencil push-ups therapy is performed at home. The patient brings a pencil slowly to within 2–3 cm (0.79–1.18 in) of the eye just above the nose about fifteen minutes per day five times per week. Patients should record the closest distance that they could maintain fusion (keep the pencil from going double as long as possible) after each five minutes of therapy. Computer software may be used at home or in an orthoptist's/vision therapist's office to treat convergence insufficiency. A weekly 60-minute in-office therapy visit may be prescribed. This is generally accompanied with additional in-home therapy.[4]

In 2005, the Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial (CITT) published two randomized clinical studies. The first, published in Archives of Ophthalmology, demonstrated that computer exercises when combined with office/based vision therapy/orthoptics were more effective than "pencil pushups" or computer exercises alone for convergency insufficiency in nine- to eighteen-year-old children.[5] The second found similar results for adults 19 to 30 years of age.[6] In a bibliographic review of 2010, the CITT confirmed their view that office-based accommodative/vergence therapy is the most effective treatment of convergence insufficiency, and that substituting it in entirety or in part with other eye training approaches such as home-based therapy may offer advantages in cost but not in outcome.[7] A later study of 2012 confirmed that orthoptic exercises led to longstanding improvements of the asthenopic symptoms of convergence sufficiency both in adults and in children.[8] A 2020 Cochrane Review concludes that office-based vergence/accommodative therapy with home reinforcement is more effective than home-based pencil/target push-ups or home-based computer vergence/accommodative therapy for children. In adults, evidence of the effectiveness of various non-surgical interventions is less clear.[9]

Both positive fusional vergence (PFV)[10] and negative fusional vergence (NFV)[11] can be trained, and vergence training should normally include both.[12][13] Surgical correction options are also available, but the decision to proceed with surgery should be made with caution as convergence insufficiency generally does not improve with surgery. Bilateral medial rectus resection is the preferred type of surgery. However, the patient should be warned about the possibility of uncrossed diplopia at distance fixation after surgery. This typically resolves within one to three months postoperatively. The exophoria at near often recurs after several years, although most patients remain asymptomatic.

Reading difficulty[edit]

In some cases, convergence insufficiency can be the underlying cause of difficulty learning to read. As a result of the eyes not converging on the same point for sustained periods of time when reading, words can appear blurry or double because the brain is receiving two different images. Convergence insufficiency is not a learning disability. However, some children with the condition who are struggling to learn to read can be confused for having dyslexia due to difficulty learning to read. Children struggling with symptoms such as letters appearing blurry or double and experience tiredness or headaches when reading should consult an optometrist.[1][3][2]


Among fifth and sixth grade children convergence insufficiency is 13%.[14] In studies that used standardized definitions of convergence insufficiency, investigators have reported a prevalence of 4.2–6% in school and clinic settings. The standard definition of convergence insufficiency is exophoria greater at near than at distance, a receded near point of convergence, and reduced convergence amplitudes at near.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Convergence insufficiency - Symptoms and causes". Mayo Clinic. Retrieved 2022-05-26.
  2. ^ a b devora. "Does Convergence Insufficiency Impact Reading?". Retrieved 2022-05-26.
  3. ^ a b "Convergence Insufficiency | National Eye Institute". Retrieved 2022-05-26.
  4. ^ a b Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial (CITT) Study, Group (Jan–Feb 2008). "The convergence insufficiency treatment trial: design, methods, and baseline data". Ophthalmic Epidemiology. 15 (1): 24–36. doi:10.1080/09286580701772037. PMC 2782898. PMID 18300086.
  5. ^ Scheiman M, Mitchell GL, Cotter S, Cooper J, Kulp M, Rouse M, Borsting E, London R, Wensveen J, Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial Study Group (Jan 2005). "A randomized clinical trial of treatments for convergence insufficiency in children". Arch Ophthalmol. 123 (1): 14–24. doi:10.1001/archopht.123.1.14. PMID 15642806.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Scheiman M, Mitchell GL, Cotter S, Kulp MT, Cooper J, Rouse M, Borsting E, London R, Wensveen J (Jul 2005). "A randomized clinical trial of vision therapy/orthoptics versus pencil pushups for the treatment of convergence insufficiency in young adults". Optom Vis Sci. 82 (7): 583–95. doi:10.1097/01.opx.0000171331.36871.2f. PMID 16044063. S2CID 9507706.
  7. ^ Scheiman, Mitchell; Rouse, Michael; Kulp, Marjean Taylor; Cotter, Susan; Hertle, Richard; Mitchell, G Lynn (May 2009). "Treatment of Convergence Insufficiency in Childhood: A Current Perspective". Optom Vis Sci. 86 (5): 420–428. doi:10.1097/OPX.0b013e31819fa712. PMC 2821445. PMID 19319008. PMC 2821445, NIHMSID:NIHMS153855
  8. ^ Matti Westman; M. Johanna Liinamaa (May 2012). "Relief of asthenopic symptoms with orthoptic exercises in convergence insufficiency is achieved in both adults and children". Journal of Optometry. 5 (2): 62–67. doi:10.1016/j.optom.2012.03.002. PMC 3861273.
  9. ^ Scheiman M, Kulp MT, Cotter SA, Lawrenson JG, Wang L, Li T (2 December 2020). "Interventions for convergence insufficiency: a network meta-analysis". Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020 (12): CD006768. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD006768.pub3. PMC 8092638. PMID 33263359.
  10. ^ P. Thiagarajan; V. Lakshminarayanan; W.R. Bobier (Jul 2010). "Effect of vergence adaptation and positive fusional vergence training on oculomotor parameters". Optom Vis Sci. 7 (87): 487–493. doi:10.1097/OPX.0b013e3181e19ec2. hdl:10012/3537. PMID 20473234. S2CID 1634449.
  11. ^ K.M. Daum (July 1986). "Negative vergence training in humans". Am J Optom Physiol Opt. Vol. 7, no. 63. pp. 487–496. PMID 3740204.
  12. ^ Mitchell Scheiman; Bruce Wick (2008). Clinical Management of Binocular Vision: Heterophoric, Accommodative, and Eye Movement Disorders. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-7817-7784-1.
  13. ^ Deshmukh, Saurabh; Magdalene, Damaris; Dutta, Pritam; Choudhury, Mitalee; Gupta, Krati (2017-07-01). "Clinical profile of nonstrabismic binocular vision anomalies in patients with asthenopia in North-East India". TNOA Journal of Ophthalmic Science and Research. 55 (3): 182. doi:10.4103/tjosr.tjosr_36_17. S2CID 79967219.
  14. ^ Rouse, Michael W.; Borsting, Eric; Hyman, Leslie; Hussein, Mohamed; Cotter, Susan A.; Flynn, Mary; Scheiman, Mitchell; Gallaway, Michael; De Land, Paul N. (September 1999). "Frequency of Convergence Insufficiency Among Fifth and Sixth Graders". Optometry and Vision Science. 76 (9): 643–649. doi:10.1097/00006324-199909000-00022. PMID 10498006.

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