Children with convergence insufficiency may be able to improve their reading skills through office-based vergence and accommodative therapy, according to a new study.

The pilot study included 44 children between the ages of nine and 17 with symptomatic convergence insufficiency. The children were given four reading tests: the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test II; Test of Word Reading Efficiency; Test of Silent Word Reading Fluency; and the Gray Oral Reading Test. The tests were administered at baseline and eight weeks after participants completed a 16-week program of office-based vergence/accommodative therapy.

After treatment, researchers noted a statistically significant improvement in reading comprehension and reading composite scores in the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test at 24 weeks. The study also reported the largest improvements occurred in participants who were early responders to treatment. Additionally, reading speed increased significantly on the Gray Oral Reading Test. Researchers found no significant improvements for single-word reading or reading fluency in the Test of Word Reading Efficiency, the Test of Silent Word Reading Fluency or the Gray Oral Reading Test.

“The hypothesis is that for some children, there may not be a short‐term gain in reading, but after improved comfort as a result of successful therapy, some children may begin to read more often and subsequently show improvements in reading performance,” researchers said.

Scheiman M, Chase C, Borsting E, et al. Effect of treatment of symptomatic convergence insufficiency on reading in children: a pilot study. Clin Exp Optom. 2018;101(4):585-93.