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Basic Exophoria 1280

Basic Exophoria | Causes, Symptoms, And Treatments

Exophoria is an eye condition that affects binocular vision and eye alignment. A person with exophoria will experience one of their eyes drifting outward, and their eyes will have difficulty working together.

Exophoria is usually diagnosed in childhood and is most noticeable when reading, studying, focusing on near objects or when one eye is covered.

What Causes Exophoria?

The exact cause isn’t yet known, but the problem usually lies in the eye muscles.

Research published in The American Orthoptic Journal suggests that when the eyes are under stress, the weaker eye reacts by drifting outwards.

What Are the Symptoms of Exophoria?

Aside from one of the eyes drifting outwards, common signs and symptoms of exophoria include:

  • Headaches
  • Sore or painful eyes
  • Poor reading/reading comprehension
  • Double vision
  • Tendency to close one eye
  • Difficulty sustaining focus on near objects
  • Temporary blurred vision
  • Poor hand-eye coordination
  • Poor depth perception
  • Light sensitivity
  • Motion sickness
  • Lack of overall coordination
  • General fatigue
  • Reduced productivity in the workplace or at home
  • Avoidance of visually demanding activities

How Is Exophoria Treated or Managed?

Managing exophoria involves minimizing symptoms, while treating exophoria targets the underlying cause of the problem.

In some cases of exophoria, specialized lenses or prisms are all it takes to manage symptoms and increase productivity.

But in the vast majority of cases, the most effective way to manage and treat exophoria is a personalized vision therapy program coupled with specialized lenses.

Vision therapy is a tailor-made set of eye exercises that help the eyes and brain work seamlessly as a team.

When it comes to exophoria, the goals of vision therapy are to:

  • Eventually reverse or minimize the exophoria
  • Enhance accommodative/convergence skills
  • Integrate binocular function with other sensory functions (like auditory, vestibular, and kinesthetic)
  • Enhance visual processing
  • Increase visual stamina and focusing abilities
  • Integrate binocular vision with motor skills

In most cases of exophoria, patients experience significant improvement after 30 hours of in-office vision therapy, but more visits may be necessary, depending on several factors.

What to Consider Before Starting Vision Therapy

Exophoria can present in mild to severe cases, and each patient will respond to treatment differently.

Some factors that influence the efficacy of vision therapy include, but are not limited to:

  • Patient’s willingness to participate and perform at-home exercises
  • Severity of the condition
  • Other health conditions or cognitive/developmental conditions
  • The amount of visually demanding activities the patient is involved with
  • The type and result of prior interventions

After completing a successful vision therapy program, follow up care can include occasional visits with your vision therapist to ensure long-term stability.

We Can Treat Your Exophoria And Other Visual Conditions

At Vision Development of WNY, our vision therapy team is highly experienced in diagnosing and treating a wide range of visual dysfunctions.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with exophoria or experiences any of its symptoms, contact us to schedule a functional visual evaluation. If we find a visual problem, we’ll guide you through the most suitable treatment options for long-lasting relief.

Call Vision Development of WNY to schedule an appointment today!

Our practice serves patients from Elma, Buffalo, SouthTowns, and Western New York, New York and surrounding communities.

Request an Appointment
Find Out How We Can Help You! 716-300-5269


Optometric Vision Therapy for Convergence Insufficiency

Optometric Vision Therapy for Convergence Insufficiency

Research shows that Convergence Insufficiency (CI) can affect up to 15% of all school-age children — that’s approximately 1 in 6 children!

CI refers to a decreased ability to bring the eyes inwards and comfortably maintain this focus over long periods of time. The inwards positioning of the eyes is required to read books, do homework and look at a computer screen. As you can imagine, having CI could significantly impact a student’s learning ability, attention levels and overall school performance.

Convergence Insufficiency can also result in blurred or double vision, a halo effect around words or objects or words appear to be ‘floating’ on a page.

This condition not only negatively impacts a child’s school grades but can also affect their emotional wellbeing, as frequent and repeated failures can cause their self-esteem and confidence levels to plummet.

CI cannot be corrected with eyeglasses or surgery. However, Optometric Vision Therapy has been proven to improve the eye’s coordination abilities and alleviate discomfort when reading, doing homework or any other activities involving the visual system.

If you suspect that you or your child may have convergence insufficiency, contact Dr. Dick O'Connor or Dr. Alyssa Fortuna at the Vision Development of WNY today. We can help.

Could My Child Have Convergence Insufficiency?

As you may derive from the list below, a child’s academic performance could be significantly impacted if they experience any of the following symptoms.

reading book (1)Students with convergence insufficiency may experience any, or several, of the following symptoms:

  • Reading below grade level
  • Not achieving to potential at school
  • Dislikes doing homework
  • Attention issues
  • Headaches
  • Double vision
  • Fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Tired when reading
  • Difficulties with concentrating
  • Often losing your place when reading
  • Words appear to move, jump, or float on the page
  • Motion sickness or vertigo

How Can Optometric Vision Therapy Help?

It’s important to understand that the eye muscles are actually healthy in those with CI. The issue is the brain’s ability to control and coordinate the way both eyes work together. When the brain and eye interaction functions effectively, it enables us to easily read words on the board, in a book, catch a ball and maintain focus throughout the day.

Optometric Vision Therapy for CI trains the brain to better control and coordinate both eyes in order to increase the child’s ability to maintain clear and comfortable focus. As the brain-eye teamwork improves, the symptoms listed above are slowly alleviated. Vision therapists can also work on convergence insufficiency treatment methods to potentially recover depth perception and 3D stereo vision.

A functional eye exam will determine whether you or your child have convergence insufficiency, and if so, Dr. Dick O'Connor or Dr. Alyssa Fortuna will provide Optometric Vision Therapy treatment to correct it.

Is Optometric Vision Therapy Effective in Adults and Children Alike?

boys using laptop (1)Optometric Vision Therapy treatment is most effective in childhood since the rapidly developing brain is easily trained to make permanent changes. That said, convergence insufficiency treatment for adults is still very effective but may take a bit longer to experience results, thus requiring a little more patience.

The Optometric Vision Therapy Process

A developmental optometrist and vision therapist will tailor a Optometric Vision Therapy plan according to the severity of the convergence problem. The [eye doctor] and vision therapist will then guide you and monitor your progress to determine what changes or adaptations need to be made throughout your customized program.

Convergence insufficiency treatment exercises may use specialized equipment and tools such as prisms, lenses and computerized technology, to stimulate the brain to better control the two eyes simultaneously.

Results depend on your active participation and compliance with the program, whether in-office or at home. Overtime, the more you train your brain, the easier and more automated the exercises will become. Gains can be experienced from as little as a few weeks to six months or more.

We encourage you to schedule a meeting with Vision Development of WNY at the first sign of convergence insufficiency in your child. At Vision Development of WNY, we will be happy to help your child achieve the best opportunity to improve their reading and learning and improve their overall school performance.

We serve patients from Elma, Buffalo, SouthTowns, Western New York and throughout New York.

Request an Appointment
Find Out How We Can Help You! 716-300-5269