Convergence exercises are aimed to reduce and treat convergence insufficiency. Convergence insufficiency is generally observed in the young population especially school going children and adolescence. It may lead to difficulty in reading and writing.
What is the requirement for Convergence Exercises for eyes?
Convergence exercises are recommended for treatment of the convergence insufficiency. Therefore, to understand the requirement of convergence therapy ewe first need to understand the convergence insufficiency.
Convergence insufficiency is an eye condition where the eyes are unable to function together while focusing on a close object. This condition happens when the eye muscles are unable to work in coordination with each other. While focusing on a close object one eye turns towards the outer direction instead of inwards creating a blurred or double image. Normally both eyes should turn inwards to create a single clear image.
Generally, treatments that include convergence exercises are effective in treating this condition. Convergence exercises can tire out the eyes and may hamper personal development due to reading difficulty. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to treat convergence insufficiency with convergence exercises.
When to know you need to perform convergence exercises?
You have to understand if you have convergence insufficiency. You need to visit an ophthalmologist to identify your condition and learn about convergence exercises. Convergence insufficiency has certain signs and symptoms, but it may vary with different persons-
- Eye strain accompanied by sore or tiring eyes.
- Difficulty to focus on words while reading
- Blurred vision or double vision.
- Concentration difficulties
You need to consult an eye doctor and start performing convergence exercises if your child is experiencing any of those symptoms.
How to perform convergence exercises to strengthen your eyes?
If convergence exercises are performed regularly then improvement in the condition can be seen within a few weeks. The time for recovery however varies on the seriousness of the condition. Generally, at the initial stages, the convergence exercises are supervised by an orthoptist. An orthoptist explains the technique, frequency, and duration of the convergence exercises. Follow-up appointments are scheduled to evaluate the progress. Convergence exercises are adequate to treat this condition. But in case the symptoms of convergence insufficiency persist, it is recommended to visit an ophthalmologist and undergo a thorough eye check-up.
This exercise includes converging your vision to a pen or pencil. This method is known as smooth convergence since it includes smooth movement of your eyes.
Smooth Convergence Exercise Steps-
- Keep your head a straight position, sitting or standing.
- Hold a pen/pencil in a straight-ahead at an arm’s length at or slightly below the arm level.
- Focus on the tip of the pen/pencil
- Move the pen/pencil, maintaining the straight line towards yourself.
- Stop where you see blurred image/ feel a little strain/ see a double image
- Hold the position and try to form a single image by pulling your eye muscle. This will help to strengthen the eye muscles. Hold the position for 10 seconds.
- Then take back the pen/pencil to the previous position at the arm’s length and hold for 10 seconds.
- Again, move it close to a point where there is a difficulty in vision.
- In case you are unable to form a single image, you can pull back the pen/pencil slightly for 2-3 cms.
- Repeat this 10 times and then give your eyes a little rest by looking at a distant small object for 20-25 seconds and repeat the entire cycle.
Smooth Convergence Exercise Schedule-
- Initially, this convergence exercise can be practised once in the morning and once in the evening for 5 minutes each.
- Over a period of two months increase the timing of each session to 15 minutes.
- Post two months, practising the exercise once daily is sufficient.
- Visit your ophthalmologist for tracking your progress.
Jump Convergence Exercise
This exercise is aimed to control and strengthen your eye muscle between two distances. For performing this convergence exercise, you will need two objects-
- One object which is at a distance of 3-4 meters away
- Another object which is in a close range of 20cms maybe a pen or pencil or any other such object of your choice.
Jump Convergence Exercise Steps-
- First look at the distant object which is 3-4 meters away.
- then quickly jump your focus back to the close-range object and try to form a single image.
- Once you are able to form a single image jump your focus back to the distant object and hold it for 10 seconds.
- Every time you can form a single image with the close object easily move the object a little close towards you and continue doing this convergence exercise in repetition.
- Again, focus back on the distant object.
- Continue the repetition until the close object touches your nose.
Jump Convergence Exercise Schedule-
This exercise can be performed after smooth convergence exercise. There is no time limit since you need to repeat it until the close object touches your nose.
Perform this exercise twice daily once in the morning and evening for two months. Post which can be done once daily.
Dot Card Eye Convergence Exercise
Dot cards are double-sided dot or lettered cards use to measure the near point of convergence. Dot cards are more effective in treating the convergence insufficiency rather than a pen or pencil pushups since it ensures correct ocular alignment.
The dots in the dot card are 3 cms apart from each other. You need to hold the card length-wise with the end of the nose touching it. This ensures that the dots are 6 cm and 2 cm away from the nose.
Dot Card Convergence Exercise Steps-
- The head needs to be kept straight while holding one end of the dot card against the nose tip. Hold the dot card straight or at a mild angle so that you are able to see the dots clearly.
- Focus on the farthest dot and try to form a single dot. You need to pull in your eye muscles to form a single image.
- Hold that position for 10 seconds.
- Now try to focus on the next dot in the line closer to you. Now again try to form a single image. While you focus on this dot the other dots should appear double and form an X pattern. Stay on this position for 10 seconds.
- Repeat the same exercise with other dots each time moving closer to your nose and holding for 10 seconds.
Computer Vision Convergence Exercise
Certain software is designed for performing convergence exercises on the computer. The exercises can be done on the computer to improve the symptoms of convergence insufficiency. The results can be printed for sharing it with your ophthalmologist for evaluating your progress.
Relaxation after convergence exercises
Relaxation of the eye muscles is of utmost importance after completing convergence exercises. In some rare cases, convergence spasm might occur if eye muscles are not relaxed properly following convergence exercises. Certain uncomfortable symptoms are expected after performing the exercises but not relaxing the muscles can intensify the degree of discomfort. Do not overdo the exercises. Avoid performing convergence exercises when your eyes are tired or you are unwell. Your eyes need to be fresh before you start the convergence exercises. This ensures less uncomfortable symptoms.
Close your eyes for one minute after the convergence exercises and relaxation and then start doing other activities.
Disclaimer while performing convergence exercise
You may feel a slight strain, headache, or pain for the first few days. It is completely normal. Gradually the symptoms will disappear and you will feel less strain.
Go for follow up appointments to track your progress and consult your ophthalmologist before you stop doing the exercise. Generally, the symptoms of eye convergence insufficiency disappear after three months of regular exercise. In case there is no improvement in condition your ophthalmologist may perform additional eye examinations to determine any underlying condition.
You can also consult your eye doctor if you are having excessive persistent eye discomfort after performing convergence exercises.
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