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Convergence Insufficiency & Convergence Excess

We Diagnose and Treat Eye Teaming Problems, in Hartsdale, NY

When you look at the world around you, each eye sends a slightly different view to your brain. In order to see a stable 3-D image, your brain must fuse these views into a single picture. Called binocular vision, this is a necessary visual skill that enables your eyes to work and coordinate together. Proper eye teaming allows you to have comfortable single vision, with depth perception. Without eye teaming, people often experience double vision or shifting images. Typical symptoms also include blurry eyesight, headaches and eyestrain.

Eye teaming problems affect 5 -10% of all children and adults. The two most common problems are convergence insufficiency and convergence excess. At Hartsdale Family Eyecare, we’ll evaluate your functional vision to detect any difficulties with these visual skills. Dr. Arlene Schwartz, our friendly and highly qualified eye doctor, is experienced with diagnosing eye teaming/binocularity conditions. If you or your children experience any of the symptoms, contact us for an appointment at our convenient Hartsdale optometry practice.

What is Convergence Insufficiency?

This condition refers to a tendency for the eyes to drift outward when reading or doing close work. When the eyes do drift to the sides, it generally causes double vision. To prevent double vision, you may attempt to pull your eyes back inwards – to converge. The extra effort exerted to do this may lead to more uncomfortable symptoms.

In addition to double vision, possible symptoms include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain
  • Squinting or closing one eye to see
  • Trouble concentrating and a short attention span
  • Losing the place while reading
  • Words that seem to float, swim or move around on the page
  • Motion sickness, and/or vertigo

Sometimes, the brain compensates for convergence insufficiency by shutting down or ignoring all visual information sent from one eye. This suppression eliminates double vision, yet causes other problems, such as no depth perception. With only one working eye, actions such as coordination, judging distances, making eye contact and playing sports become an extreme challenge.

How do we diagnose and treat convergence insufficiency in Hartsdale?

Diagnostic procedures include tests to check eye teaming and focusing. A standard vision test will not always detect convergence insufficiency, and only a comprehensive eye exam will pick up on the signs. Dr. Schwartz will evaluate your visual skills thoroughly.

During your eye exam in Hartsdale, we’ll first take a medical history – asking you to share any visual complaints that you have. Next, we’ll test your focusing ability with the aid of a few simple procedures. You will need to focus on a small object while it is brought close to you, or you’ll need to look through a prism lens to read an eye chart.

If you are diagnosed with convergence insufficiency, we’ll generally recommend a series of customized vision therapy sessions as treatment.

What is Convergence Excess?

This condition describes an imbalance with your eye muscles, which leads to a tendency for the eyes to turn inwards. Convergence excess is most commonly experienced with close-up vision, such as reading or using a handheld device, and not when you’re looking into the distance. To keep your eyes aligned, your ocular muscles need to work harder. When they exert too much effort, double vision may be caused.

In order to stop seeing double, your brain may learn to pay attention to only one eye. Symptoms that result from this include: headaches, blurry vision of distance, head tilting, eyestrain, and an avoidance of doing near tasks. Most of the symptoms are similar to those experienced with convergence insufficiency.

How do we diagnose and treat convergence excess in Hartsdale?

Diagnosis is verified with the same types of procedures that are used to evaluate convergence insufficiency. A comprehensive eye exam is critical for confirming the presence of convergence excess.

A combination of vision therapy, prisms and eyeglasses are typically used to treat convergence excess by training eye muscles to work properly. Prescription eyewear may also be helpful for relieving the muscle strain needed to read comfortably. The goal of treatment is to enable eyes to aim normally and smoothly.

Our eye doctor and optometry team at Hartsdale Family Eyecare are knowledgeable and experienced in diagnosing vision conditions such as convergence insufficiency and convergence excess. If you have questions about these eye teaming problems, please contact us for more info and to schedule an appointment for a total eye exam.