Convergence Insufficiency
Simple Eye Exercises can Make Reading Easier

A convergence insufficiency is when your eyes have a slight coordination problem. A lot of research shows a relationship between dyslexia and convergence difficulty. There are however simple exercises you can do at home, with a pencil, to improve convergence. This page will work together well with Core Exercises.

What is convergence?

Convergence is your eyes ability to come together and focus on a single point for a sustained period of time. This is of course, exactly what your eyes need to do in order to read properly. It is quite common for dyslexic people to have a convergence insufficiency (see evidence).

If your eyes cannot maintain convergence while reading then this may make it difficult to track the words on the page. This would in turn cause tiredness and make it hard to maintain concentration.

Do you have a convergence insufficiency?

The easy way to find out whether or not you have this problem is to go to your opticians and ask for an eye convergence test. This is not generally part of a standard eye examination, so you'll need to request one.

Let’s get a couple of things straight:

Improving your convergence ability is not a cure for dyslexia and will not improve your literacy skills. The only way to improve literacy is reading and writing.

However improving your convergence will make it easier for your eyes to work together. This in turn should make reading an easier and more comfortable process. However you still need to work on your literacy skills.

Convergence exercises:

To perform these exercises you will need a pen or a pencil. The exercises are fundamentally about focusing on the tip of the pen.

  1. Start with the pen in your hand with the tip pointing upwards.
  2. Then hold it out in front of you at arm’s length.
  3. Focus on the tip of the pen and start moving it slowly towards your face.
  4. As you are doing this you must maintain focus on the very tip of the pen at all times.
  5. You will feel your eyes converge as you move the pen closer to your face.
  6. Stop moving the pen before it starts to blur. This should be roughly 3 to 6 inches from your nose.
  7. Then just hold the pen there with your eyes converged on the tip for 3 to 5 minutes.
  8. Remember the tip of the pen should be clear and in focus, not blurry.

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It's difficult to say how long you should hold the pen in front of your face for, as everyone is different. Basically you want to feel that the muscles in your eyes have had a good workout.

It’s also difficult to say how long you should continue to do these exercises for. Again everyone is different. Just use your common sense if it makes the reading process easier you should definitely continue to do them.

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Evidence for Convergence Insufficiency and Dyslexia:

Ophthalmic findings in dyslexic schoolchildren.

Diagnosis of dyslexia by means of a new indicator of eye dominance. 

Binocular anomalies and reading problems.