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J Optom. 2016 Oct-Dec;9(4):246-57. doi: 10.1016/j.optom.2015.10.006. Epub 2015 Dec 30.

Vergence anomalies in a sample of high school students in South Africa.

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Discipline of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), Private Bag X54001, Durban 4000, South Africa. Electronic address:
Discipline of Optometry, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), Private Bag X54001, Durban 4000, South Africa.



To study the prevalence of nearpoint vergence anomalies (convergence insufficiency, convergence excess and fusional vergence dysfunction) and association with gender, age groups, grade level and study site (suburban and rural).


The study design was cross sectional and data was analyzed for 1201 high school students aged 13-19 years who were randomly selected from 13 high schools in uMhlathuze municipality. Of the total sample, 476 (39.5%) were males and 725 (60.5%) were females. The visual functions evaluated included refractive errors, heterophoria, near point of convergence, accommodative functions and fusional vergences. Possible associations between vergence anomalies and demographic variables (gender, age groups, school grade levels and study site) were explored.


Prevalence estimates were 11.8%, 6% and 4.3% for low suspect, high suspect and definite convergence insufficiency, and 1.9% for the pseudo convergence insufficiency. Convergence excess prevalence was 5.6%, and fusional vergence dysfunction was 3.3%. The prevalence of low suspect CI was significantly higher in suburban than in rural participants (p=0.01), the reverse was the case for pseudoconvergence insufficiency while the prevalence of convergence excess was significantly higher in the younger than in the older age group (p=0.02). No other category showed any statistically significant associations with vergence anomalies.


The prevalence estimates for vergence anomalies in a sample of black high school students in South Africa were relatively low. Only study location and age influenced some vergence anomalies. Identification and referrals are important steps toward diagnosis and treatment for vergence anomalies. Further studies to compare vergence anomalies in various racial populations will be relevant.


Convergence excess; Convergence insufficiency; Disfunción de la vergencia fusional; Exceso de convergencia; Fusional vergence dysfunction; Insuficiencia de convergencia; Insuficiencia de pseudo-convergencia; Pseudo-convergence insufficiency; South Africa; Sudáfrica

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