Convergence insufficiency

This information is for patients who have been diagnosed with convergence weakness.

You can download this information in a printable pdf format by clicking on the link below.

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This information is for patients who have been diagnosed with convergence weakness.

What is convergence insufficiency?

Convergence insufficiency is a weakness of the mechanism that allows both of your eyes to track inwards as a pair towards your nose. This mechanism holds both of your eyes in the slightly inward position they need to be in for you to read and do near tasks. Therefore, if this mechanism is weak, both eyes are either:

  • straining to keep in this position
  • cannot be held in this convergent position

This may cause double vision, blurred vision when reading, headaches or eyestrain.

What can cause it?

There are many different causes but the possibilities include a change of occupation involving increased close work, an intensive period of close work (e.g. studying for exams), over work, worry, recent illness or whiplash. Sometimes no reason is found.

What treatment options are available for this condition?

Treatment options include:

  • Glasses
  • A course of convergence exercises
  • Prisms on or in your glasses
  • Occlusion (covering) of one eye (in extreme cases)

Your Orthoptist will decide which form of treatment is most suitable for your individual case of convergence insufficiency and will work with you to help your symptoms.

What you need to bring to your Orthoptic appointments:

If you wear glasses, you will need to bring your most up to date reading and distance glasses to all of your appointments.

Orthoptic appointments for patients with convergence insufficiency

The aim of an Orthoptic appointment is to:

  • Assess your progress with the treatment that has been given to you
  • Give further therapy
  • Plan the next step in your treatment

The treatment is targeted at relieving your symptoms. The course of exercises should consist of a series of three to four appointments at the end of which your progress will be assessed and further treatment may be offered if needed.

The treatment can only be successful if the exercises are carried out regularly at home as shown by your Orthoptist. Attending the appointments alone will not improve your symptoms.

Contact details

If you have any questions about your treatment, please ask your Orthoptist or contact us on the number at the bottom of the leaflet.

For further information:

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists: Guidelines for the Management of Strabismus in Childhood, March 2012

American Association for Paediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus Convergence Insufficiency 2012

General Statements made in this leaflet do not apply in every case, as each patient is an individual.  Your surgeon will advise you of any specific after care.

Orthoptic Department

Pilgrim Hospital

Telephone:  01205 446474

Lincoln County Hospital

Telephone:  01522 573378

Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm