Know-Your-Eye

Eye Teaming Problems

What is an eye teaming problem?

It is not enough to have 20/20 vision and be able to see the board or a book clearly. We have two eyes and in order to see properly we have to use both eyes together in a very precise and coordinated fashion.

Every time we look at something we must accurately aim the two eyes directly at the object of concern. Each eye sends an image to the part of the brain that is involved in the process of seeing. Called the visual cortex, it then tries to combine these two images to make one “fused” image. If these images are identical, the result is normal clear single vision and a perception of depth. If, however, the two eyes are not in sync, the visual cortex will receive two different images and the patient may experience eyestrain, double vision, or even ignore one image.

As you can imagine, double vision is not something that a child or an adult can tolerate. Double vision causes simple tasks at school, play, or work to be more difficult. Eyestrain by itself will make the person dislike or avoid near work, such as reading.

What types of eye teaming problems can occur?

Two common types are:

CONVERGENCE INSUFFICIENCY (CI)

Convergence Insufficiency is an eye teaming problem in which the eyes have a strong tendency to drift outward when the individual is reading or doing close work. If the eyes actually drift out, the person may experience double vision or ignores one eye. To control this, the individual must exert excessive effort to reposition the eyes.

CONVERGENCE EXCESS (CE)

Convergence excess is an eye teaming problem in which the eyes have a strong tendency to drift inward when the individual is reading or doing close work. If the eyes actually drift in, the person may experience double vision. To control this, the individual must exert excessive effort to realign the eyes.

How common are eye teaming problems?

Approximately five to ten percent of children and young adults have eye teaming problems which are significant enough to cause some of the complaints listed above.

What are some problems and symptoms associated with eye teaming problems?

  • Double vision
  • Eyestrain and headaches after reading for a short period of time
  • Inability to concentrate when reading
  • Short attention span
  • Frequent loss of place when reading
  • Rubbing or closing an eye
  • Words moving on the page
  • Good decoding skills but poor comprehension

Eye teaming problems that result in such symptoms actually may have more impact on learning or performance at near work than poor visual acuity.

Unfortunately, most school vision screenings are only designed to detect vision problems or poor visual acuity. Very few school screenings test for eye teaming disorders.

How are eye teaming problems treated?

Eyeglasses can sometimes be prescribed to provide relief from the complaints associated with eye teaming problems. These glasses are usually just for reading and must be removed for seeing the board. With a young child who has trouble putting them on and taking them off many times each day, bifocals are prescribed. Bifocals are worn all the time and provide clear and accurate vision at both distance and near.

Often, eyeglasses are not sufficient to resolve eye teaming problems completely. Although they may provide temporary relief of symptoms, another form of treatment must be utilized. This is referred to as VISION THERAPY.

Vision therapy is a treatment approach whose success has been well-documented in scientific literature. During weekly office visits, the patient is given carefully selected and sequenced activities. Vision therapy restores flexibility to the eye teaming system and should lead to the complete relief of symptoms.

Vision Therapy can be the answer to many visual problems! Don’t hesitate to contact our office with your questions. To read definitions of Vision Therapy by outside sources, visit children-special-needs.org.

You are also invited to look through a National Catalog of hundreds of Vision Therapy Success Stories.

There’s more to healthy vision than 20/20 eyesight!
Learn more about symptoms of visual problems which
affect reading, learning, sports and quality of life.