Say Hello to Reading. Say Goodbye to Eyestrain and Headaches
"When I came to vision therapy, I had severe headaches daily. I could not read for longer than about 5-10 minutes before words began to blur and run together. Since I've been in therapy, I have not had a headache. I have noticed that each time I pick up a book (which I now enjoy doing) I read several chapters before stopping. My eyes no longer tire after a few paragraphs. "
What is Convergence Insufficiency?
"Convergence" is the act of aiming the eyes at nearer distances. It is the brain's job to coordinate the twelve eye muscles that keep things single with the two eye muscles that keep things clear. "Convergence Insufficiency" is a medical condition in which the brain has difficulty comfortably, efficiently, and accurately coordinating these fourteen eye muscles for seeing at reading distance for longer periods of time.
Convergence insufficiency is a common reason why bright children struggle with reading and why 20 minutes of homework can drag on for two hours. It hurts to look at the details on the page.
According to a National Eye Institute gold-standard study, which included the Mayo Clinic among its treatment centers (Randomized Clinical Trial of Treatments for Symptomatic Convergence Insufficiency in Children: Archives of Ophthalmology, Vol. 126, October 21, 2008), convergence insufficiency can be associated with any or all of the following symptoms during reading or doing near work:
- Eyes feel tired
- Eyes feel uncomfortable
- Eyes hurt
- Loss of concentration
- Trouble remembering what you have read
- Double vision
- The words move, jump, swim, or appear to float on the page
- Read slowly
- A "pulling feeling" around eyes
- Words blurring or coming in and out of focus
- Loss of place
- Rereading of the same line of words
In the same National Eye Institute study, one group was fooled into thinking they were receiving vision therapy (placebo group). During a twelve-week trial, the placebo group was compared to three other groups:
- In-office vision therapy training flexibility between the muscles keeping things clear and the muscles keeping things single (relative convergence and relative accommodation)
- Converging to look at a pencil held close to the nose
- Home computer program
Thirty-five percent of the placebo group, 33 percent of the computer group, 43 percent of the pencil group, and 73 percent of the in-office-vision-therapy group improved at converging their eyes to look at a pencil. When it came to reducing symptoms of "loss of concentration," "headaches,) etc. only the in-office vision therapy group performed better than the placebo group. Reviewing the study, a Mayo Clinic press release stated that In-Office Vision Therapy is the preferred treatment for convergence insufficiency.
At Cook Vision Therapy Center, we have thirty years of experience using the procedures used in The National Eye Institute study to teach flexibility between the muscles of the eye keeping things clear and single. Dr. Cook has actually taught many of these procedures to doctors from across the nation. Even more importantly, we integrate this new seeing with the other "7 Visual Abilities." By using a wide range of activities and training the visual abilities until they are fully mastered, comfortable seeing becomes so second nature that not only is reading, learning and computer work made easier but the results hold after treatment is completed.