More effective treatment identified for common childhood vision disorder

October 15, 2008

Scientists have found a more effective treatment for a common childhood eye muscle coordination problem called convergence insufficiency (CI). For words on a page to appear in focus a child's eyes must turn inward, or converge. In CI, the eyes do not converge easily, and as a result, additional muscular effort must be used to make the eyes turn in.

While the majority of eye care professionals treat children diagnosed with CI using some form of home-based therapy, a new study concludes that office-based treatment by a trained therapist along with at-home reinforcement is more effective. The research, reported in the Oct.13 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology, was funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health.

The 12-week study, known as the Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial (CITT), found that approximately 75 percent of those who received in-office therapy by a trained therapist plus at-home treatment reported fewer and less severe symptoms related to reading and other near work. Symptoms of CI include loss of place, loss of concentration, reading slowly, eyestrain, headaches, blurry vision, and double vision.

"This NEI-funded study compared the effectiveness of treatment options for convergence insufficiency," said Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D., director of the NEI. "The CITT will provide eye care professionals with the research they need to assist children with this condition."

The CITT, which included 221 children age 9 to 17, is the first to compare three forms of vision therapy and a placebo therapy option. The first therapy was the current treatment standard known as home-based pencil push-up therapy, an exercise in which patients visually followed a small letter on a pencil as they moved the pencil closer to the bridge of their nose. The goal was to keep the letter clear and single, and to stop if it appeared double. The second group used home-based pencil push-ups with additional computer vision therapy. The third attended weekly hour-long sessions of office-based vision therapy with a trained therapist and performed at-home reinforcement exercises. The last group was given placebo vision activities designed to simulate office-based therapy.

After 12 weeks of treatment, nearly 75 percent of children who were given the office-based vision therapy along with at-home reinforcement achieved normal vision or had significantly fewer symptoms of CI. Only 43 percent of patients who completed home-based therapy alone showed similar results, as did 33 percent of patients who used home-based pencil push-ups plus computer therapy and 35 percent of patients given a placebo office-based therapy.

"There are no visible signs of this condition; it can only be detected and diagnosed during an eye examination," said principal investigator Mitchell Scheiman, O.D., of Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University near Philadelphia, Pa. "However, as this study shows, once diagnosed, CI can be successfully treated with office-based vision therapy by a trained therapist along with at-home reinforcement. This is very encouraging news for parents, educators, and anyone who may know a child diagnosed with CI."

Source: NIH/National Eye Institute

Explore further: Nivolumab immunotherapy safe, feasible during chemoradiation for adv. head and neck cancer

Related Stories

Nivolumab immunotherapy safe, feasible during chemoradiation for adv. head and neck cancer

February 13, 2018
Analysis of a clinical trial, RTOG Foundation 3504, finds that nivolumab immunotherapy can be administered safely in conjunction with radiation therapy and chemotherapy for patients with newly diagnosed local-regionally advanced ...

First study of radiation exposure in human gut Organ Chip device offers hope for better radioprotective drugs

February 14, 2018
Chernobyl. Three Mile Island. Fukushima. Accidents at nuclear power plants can potentially cause massive destruction and expose workers and civilians to dangerous levels of radiation that lead to cancerous genetic mutations ...

Comprehensive evaluation of patients with concussion-like symptoms following reports of audible phenomena in Cuba

February 15, 2018
A comprehensive evaluation by clinical researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania identified a neurological syndrome that left U.S. government personnel serving in Havana, Cuba with persistent ...

Antioxidant therapy prevents devastating vision loss when added to standard-of-care on rare birth defect

February 5, 2018
A new study led by vision researchers at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo and VA Western New York Healthcare System has demonstrated that the addition of widely available ...

New treatment offers hope for better stroke recovery

January 31, 2018
Eating food from only the right side of the plate, shaving or applying make-up to only one side of the face, and running into objects on the left are common traits post stroke and for some survivors current therapies aren't ...

Study shows how fetal infections may cause adult heart disease

January 23, 2018
Recent studies have shown that infants born prematurely have a higher risk of developing heart disease later in life. Now, a study led by researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle shows that, ...

Recommended for you

Building better tiny kidneys to test drugs and help people avoid dialysis

February 16, 2018
A free online kidney atlas built by USC researchers empowers stem cell scientists everywhere to generate more human-like tiny kidneys for testing new drugs and creating renal replacement therapies.

Expanding Hepatitis C testing to all adults is cost-effective and improves outcomes

February 16, 2018
According to a new study, screening all adults for hepatitis C (HCV) is a cost-effective way to improve clinical outcomes of HCV and identify more infected people compared to current recommendations. Using a simulation model, ...

Study suggests expanded range for emerging tick-borne disease

February 16, 2018
Human cases of Borrelia miyamotoi, a tick-borne infection with some similarities to Lyme disease, were discovered in the eastern United States less than a decade ago. Now new research led by the Yale School of Public Health ...

Flu shot only 36 percent effective, making bad year worse (Update)

February 15, 2018
The flu vaccine is doing a poor job protecting older Americans and others against the bug that's causing most illnesses.

IFN-mediated immunity to influenza A virus infection influenced by RIPK3 protein

February 15, 2018
Each year, influenza kills half a million people globally with the elderly and very young most often the victims. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 37 children have died in the United States ...

A new class of drug to treat herpes simplex virus-1 infection

February 14, 2018
For patients with the herpes simplex-1 virus (HSV-1), there are just a handful of drugs available to treat the painful condition that can affect the eyes, mouth and genitals.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.