Akron Children’s Hospital has been awarded a 5-year, $467,000 grant to study the optimal treatment for children with convergence insufficiency and attention-reading disability, a common combination of vision disorders.
“When reading or doing close work, a person’s eyes must turn in – converge – for words to be clear and single. This usually happens easily, without thinking,” said Dr. Richard Hertle, director of Akron Children’s Vision Center. “With convergence insufficiency, the eyes do not turn in easily and these children may have trouble with reading and doing close work. They often have blurred vision, headaches, double vision, loss of concentration, frequent loss of place, trouble remembering what was read and difficulty finishing assignments.”
Convergence insufficiency affects 5 to 10 percent of school-aged children.
Children with convergence insufficiency also have more attention-related disorders compared to children with normal binocular vision.
Yet convergence insufficiency has no obvious signs and is typically only detected through an eye examination.
The Convergence Insufficiency Treatment: Reading and Attention Trial (CITT-ART) will study 9 to 12 year olds who have convergence insufficiency and attention-related problems.
The study will attempt to determine if improvement in their convergence insufficiency leads to improved attention and reading performance. Standard office and home treatment will be compared to a placebo treatment.
The study is being conducted at 9 institutions across the country and is funded by the National Eye Institute, which is part of the National Institutes of Health.
About 324 patients – 35 from Akron Children’s – will be entered into the study and cared for by participating eye doctors and research staff. Each subject will participate for 1 year.
After treatment ends, follow-up evaluations will be completed at 6 and 12 months to determine if an effect is lasting.
Akron Children’s Vision Center staff will undergo training for the clinical trial and then begin enrolling patients in August.
For more information about the study, contact Tonia Polansk from Akron Children’s Rebecca D. Considine Research Institute at 330-543-4466.