Friday, August 31, 2012

The gold standard treatment for convergence insufficiency

Convergence insufficiency (CI) patients are unable to properly make their eyes move inward when doing near work like reading. Often, the intensity of symptoms in CI depends on the amount and type of near work a patient does.  Students obviously do lots of near work their symptoms may be severe and diminish their academic performance.

The problem of CI is serious enough that the National Eye Institute (one of the National Institutes of Health in the United States) funded a number of studies to determine the best treatment for CI.  These studies are known as the Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trials (CITT).  Most of the CITT studies can be found here.  The treatments investigated by the CITT included office-based accommodative–vergence therapy with supplemental home therapy, placebo office-based vision therapy, home-based computerized vision therapy with pencil push-ups, and pencil push-ups. 

A major review of the CI research to date was published in the journal Optometry earlier in 2012.  You can read the entire review here.

Patients who participated in the CITT were assessed at the end of 12 weeks of  therapy. In-office vision therapy supplemented with home therapy was found to be the most effective treatment. Long-term effects were determined at 6 months and 12 months of follow-up and the beneficial effects of vision therapy were found to be lasting.

Vision therapy is the gold standard for treating CI.