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Eye Teaming in Children

Some children have learning disabilities related to eye teaming, an important visual efficiency skill. Our ability to use our eyes together as a team is not only vital for good vision but vital for success in school and the workplace. We have 6 eye muscles that surround each eye. If these muscles or if the signal between the brain and these eye muscles is underdeveloped then symptoms may occur. If the individual is born with an abnormal alignment ('resting position') then symptoms are more likely to occur. Your optometrist will test your eye teaming ability during a routine examination. If necessary, more testing can be done during a vision therapy or a strabismus evaluation.

During such an evaluation one or more of these eye teaming conditions may be diagnosed:
Convergence Insufficiency: Eye turn outward or eyestrain while attempting to see at near.
Convergence Excess: Eye turn inward or eyestrain while attempting to see at near.
Divergence Insufficiency: Eye turn inward or eyestrain while attempting to see at distance.
Divergence Excess: Eye turn outward or eyestrain while attempting to see at distance.
Basic Exo / Eso: An eye turn outward / inward or eyestrain at all distances.
Strabismus: An eye turn of any kind, if it has occurred since a young age it is likely caused by one of the above conditions. There are many types of eye turns, if your condition is so bad as to cause an eye turn you will be told the exact type of eye turn you have.

Treatment Options

For patients with a large misalignment of the eyes, surgery is an option. For those with an undeveloped brain to eye connection, vision therapy is the primary treatment. To compliment vision therapy, prism, bifocals, reading glasses, or over-minused lenses may be used.

Eye teaming is such a common problem in children with visual efficiency deficits that all of our vision therapy patients will be exposed to vergence training during their time with us. During these visits your child will be taught to control their eyes fine movements inward and outward and their eye muscles that perform these tasks will be strengthened via various exercises. Both eyes are used at the same time during all vergence therapy, because by definition vergences ('eye teaming') require 2 eyes. Often your child will be wearing polarized glasses or Red/Green glasses that will allow us to show two separate images to each eye, much like a 3D movie.

Lysle Shaw-McMinn, O.D.

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Written for Our Blog on Nov 28, 2014


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