Many of us will remember this scenario as kids. Voluntarily crossing our eyes would get a laugh out of our friends and siblings but also result in a stern warning from our parents – “if you keep doing that your eyes will stay that way forever!” Was there any truth to that threat?
Actually there is not much cause for concern. In fact, for certain people the act of voluntarily making their eyes cross is a form of exercise that can help them maintain concentration and focus while reading or using computers. “Convergence Insufficiency” is a common condition where the eyes cannot maintain convergence (crossed position) without getting tired. This can cause any of the following symptoms:
• Early fatigue while doing near vision tasks (reading or computers)
• Inattention or lack of focus on near tasks
• Covering one eye while performing near vision tasks
• Headaches while reading
• Double vision while reading
Treatment for convergence insufficiency involves vision therapy: training the eyes to improve teaming skills while performing tasks at close range. The rapid increase in computer use has resulted in more cases of convergence insufficiency. Fortunately it is one of the conditions that is very responsive to vision therapy.
So the next time your son or daughter makes himself or herself go cross-eyed, you can relax!