Convergence is the ability of the eyes to move medially / inwards, towards the nose, the ability to cross your eyes. Then simply said, Convergence Insufficiency (CI) is being unable to do it.
Convergence Insufficiency is a very common eye movement dysfunction in which eyes are not working together as a team while focusing on a near target. It’s an eye teaming problem in which the eyes have tendency to drift outward wile doing some eye close work.
Very interesting to mention is that convergence insufficiency is present in 1 out of 2 people with concussion!
Important to know: a person can see clearly and pass the 20/20 eye chart test and still have convergence insufficiency!
Eye convergence testing is something that I am doing very often in work with my goalkeepers. It’s very interesting that problems with eye convergence are VERY common!
How often do you test this?
When transferred to the athletic performance, in this case goalkeeping, some of the obvious problems that convergence insufficiency can cause are:
- trouble catching a ball and other object thrown through the air
- depth perception
- an object (ball) can appear closer or further than it actually is
- reaction too early
- reaction too late
- blurred vision
- motion sickness…
But along with all these symptoms, convergence insufficiency can cause some more serious issues!
If 2 eyes have different vision, the good eye will be favored by the brain, and image from the other eye will often be “shut down”. That will produce compensations, like a neck tilt, or rotations, and these are not the only possible consequences!
Since the vision system is one of the most important systems for the brain – when something is wrong with vision (and this can be ANYTHING connected to higher vision principles or even only with the eye muscles), the brain will perceive it as a threat for the rest of the system!
Your brain will want to protect you by putting some other systems in “lower speed”, so it could give you lower back pain, knee pain, or ankle pain, or some other pain to decrease the amount that you walk, to decrease the threat. But this is completely different topic about which I will write some other time!
Every time if I encounter anyone with any kind of pain, I will assess their vision and vestibular system first.
It’s very important to test the eye convergence with your athletes! It can give you so many answers and it can help you on working on some of the aspects of input quality.
This is possible to correct and I was already writing about one of the cases that I have worked with on correction of the eye coordination.
Let’s make something very clear: you can not work on hand-eye coordination if you are first not working on eye muscles coordination!!!
Meaning: if you do work on hand-eye coordination, without previously working on eye muscles coordination – you are actually not working on hand-eye coordination as fully as you could!!!
- Christina L. Master, Mitchell Scheiman, et al. (2016). Vision Diagnoses Are Common After Concussion in Adolescents.
- Kelly L. Pearce, Alicia Sufrinko, et al. (December, 2015). Near Point of Convergence After a Sport-Related Concussion: Measurement Reliability and Relationship to Neurocognitive Impairment and Symptoms.
- Mucha A, Collins MW, Elbin RJ, et al. (Aug 8 2014). A Brief Vestibular/Ocular Motor Screening (VOMS) assessment to evaluate concussions: preliminary findings.
- Gallaway, M. (2014). Convergence Insufficiency.
- Cooper, J.S, et al. (December, 2010). Care of the Patient with Accommodative and Vergence Dysfucntion; Optometric Clinical Practice Guideline.