Check out our tips for How to Treat Convergence Insufficiency with Vision therapy at Home. Do you ever wonder if maybe your child has issues with their eyes??? Is your child struggling to read at school or showing a lack of interest in books? Maybe your mother’s intuition is telling you that something is wrong with your child’s vision that could impact their reading, but vision tests have thus far come out normal. If so, maybe your child has a vision issue that is not as easy to diagnose as needing glasses!
My son was diagnosed during the middle of 1st grade with Convergence Insufficiency. Once we started vision therapy, he quickly improved with his reading skills and overall desire to read. We were amazed how helpful the at home vision therapy worked for him.
What Hint Tipped off Doctor that my son Had Convergence Insufficiency?
Doing our regular eye exam with a pediatric eye doctor, nothing turned up in the initial exam to explain my intuition that something was “off” with Kyle’s eyes given his lack of interest in reading.
It was only when we were chatting with the Eye Doctor as his appointment was wrapping up and I questioned if there were any other tests given I felt his reading just wasn’t going as well I thought it should. I explained how he ” covered” his eyes when reading and only wanted to read with 1 eye!
Yikes! As soon as I mentioned him covering up 1 eye when reading, she felt he might have issues focusing. She was able to test him with this cool magnifying glass to see how he was able focus each eye. He basically did NOT perform well on this test and his results indicated he had CONVERGENCE INSUFFICIENCY.
Our Eye doctor explained that it was easier for Kyle to focus with only 1 eye since he couldn’t get both eyes to “converge” correctly together and that this made reading difficult and exhausting for him.
She recommended that my son do vision therapy at home on the computer to train his eyes to work correctly together and that this would make reading so much easier eventually!
Facts about Convergence Insufficiency Eye Issues
- A person can pass the 20/20 eye chart test and still have convergence insufficiency.
- Convergence insufficiency is a common near vision problem. Luckily, with more recent scientific research this disorder is gaining public recognition.
- Convergence insufficiency disorder interferes with a person’s ability to read, write, learn and generally SEE when doing activities that are near or close up – like reading or writing on a worksheet.
- Convergence insufficiency disorder often goes undetected because the testing for it is not part of routine exams. It is NOT included in the general pediatrician’s eye tests; school screenings; or even in a basic eye exams provided at the eye doctor.
How to Treat Convergence Insufficiency with Vision therapy at Home
Our pediatric eye doctor suggested at home vision therapy for my son Kyle when he was 7 years old. Her recommendation included eye exercises that took about 10 minutes per day on the computer. The exercises were basically like playing small video games while wearing special glasses. The games trained your eyes to work together correctly so Kyle could build up his eye muscles.
Our at home computer program offered both convergence and divergence exercises on the CD we installed into the computer. Obviously, given Kyle had CONVERGENCE INSUFFICIENCY these were the exercises and games he played. Take a peek at our CD above to see the name of the system we used.
Our doctor was optimistic he would hopefully pick up the eye muscle skills quickly. We hoped it would work as the other options for people with convergence insufficiency beyond eye exercises involved very thick glasses and the Eye Doctor said the BEST way to treat this disorder is to simply strengthen the eye muscles.
Our doctor recommended that Kyle do the eye games daily if possible at first and see if we noticed any improvement in Kyle’s reading or in his attitude about reading — in so far as if Kyle was complaining less about tired eyes when reading. AMAZINGLY, even after 10 days of practicing, Kyle quickly felt his eyes were stronger and showed all kinds of enthusiasm to read. So we cut down to 3 times per week from January to May.
We took a break from the exercises the entire summer after 1st grade. Then, about a month before school started, he had to “get his eyes back in shape” for school work. At age 7, after a summer of swimming and playing outdoors, he had obviously not done much in the way of writing, reading or worksheets!
We did the eye exercises a few times per week in August. Within a few times of playing the games, his eyes quickly became “stronger” again. His scores on the computer started improving and he quickly noticed he was less tired reading the more he both read and played the games.
Ultimately, our eye doctor said he wouldn’t need the computer eye games and just the continual reading and writing he would do in school and life as he got older would maintain his eye muscles and be a form of habitually exercising the eyes and basically “CURE” him of his convergence insufficiency. Hooray!
Update: Kyle is now in 6th grade and he hasn’t needed to do computer eye exercises for years! Yay! We do encourage him to read books in the summer to keep up his eye strength. Without the symptoms of convergence insufficiency, he has found reading to be pleasurable, fun and so much easier! He was able to race through the Harry Potter books in the 4th grade.
Other tips and strategies for people with Eye Tracking Issues
Some people also use vision vision convergence training beads like these to help train their eyes to focus better. We did not use this tool as our doctor suggested we start with the computer exercises, however, we did use the reading highlighters that I mention below for Kyle.
Kyle’s 1st grade teacher suggested using a reading highlighter or bookmark to help him better focus line by line when reading. Our doctor confirmed that people use with tracking issues often use a reading highlighter. Kyle found this helpful and also incorporated a highlighter when reading chapter books with smaller font.