The results of this study suggest that clinicians providing vergence/accommodative therapy for the treatment of childhood convergence insufficiency should not suggest that such treatment, on average, will lead to improvements on standardized assessments of reading performance after 16 weeks of treatment.
The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of office-based vergence/accommodative therapy on reading performance in 9- to 14-year-old children with symptomatic convergence insufficiency.
In a multicenter clinical trial, 310 children 9 to 14 years old with symptomatic convergence insufficiency were randomized in a 2:1 ratio to 16 weeks of office-based vergence/accommodative therapy or office-based placebo therapy, respectively. The primary outcome was change in reading comprehension as measured by the reading comprehension subtest of the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test, Third Edition (WIAT-III) at the 16-week outcome. Secondary reading outcomes of word identification, reading fluency, listening comprehension, comprehension of extended text, and reading comprehension were also evaluated.
The adjusted mean improvement in WIAT-III reading comprehension was 3.7 (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.6 to 4.7) standard score points in the vergence/accommodative therapy group and 3.8 (95% CI, 2.4 to 5.2) points in the placebo therapy group, with an adjusted mean group difference of −0.12 (95% CI, −1.89 to 1.66) points that was not statistically significant. No statistically significant treatment group differences were found for any of the secondary reading outcome measures.
For children aged 9 to 14 years with symptomatic convergence insufficiency, office-based vergence/accommodative therapy was no more effective than office-based placebo therapy for improving reading performance on standardized reading tests after 16 weeks of treatment.