Parkinson Disease Associated With Increased Rates of Convergence Insufficiency

Mature Eye doctor with female senior patient during an examination in modern clinic.
Researchers assess the role of symptoms such as diplopia and difficulty reading.

This article is part of Ophthalmology Advisor’s conference coverage from the 2021 meeting of The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO), held virtually from May 1 to 7, 2021. The team at Ophthalmology Advisor will be reporting on a variety of the research presented by the eye and vision experts at ARVO. Check back for more from the ARVO 2021 Meeting.


People with Parkinson disease are more likely to experience symptoms of convergence insufficiency and visual impairment compared with people without Parkinson disease, according to research presented at the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) 2021 Annual Meeting, held virtually May 1 to 7, 2021. 

Through a meta-analysis, researchers sought to determine the relationship between cognitive impairment and convergence insufficiency in Parkinson disease, associated with a “significantly greater near point convergence distance,” difficulty reading, and diplopia. 

A total of 1563 articles were identified via a PubMed search, with 11 articles meeting inclusion criteria. The researchers used 8 of them to evaluate a primary outcome of convergence insufficiency, and 3 for a secondary outcome of near point convergence distance. 

The 8 primary outcome studies included 1520 people with Parkinson disease and 905 control patients; the 3 secondary outcome studies included 103 people with Parkinson disease and 52 control patients. Patients in the Parkinson disease group had higher odds ratios (ORs) for clinical diagnosis of convergence insufficiency vs control patients (OR, 3.67; 95% CI, 2.71-4.95). This group also demonstrated a statistically significant increase in near point convergence difference (mean difference vs control group, 4.97; 95% CI, 1.33-8.61). 

“These findings indicate that [a] regular eye exam is very important for patients with Parkinson disease,” the research concludes. “In addition, patients with objective findings of [convergence insufficiency], if symptomatic or not, may have a high risk of cognitive impairment. Eye clinicians should have a high assumption for cognitive impairment in [convergence insufficiency] patients.” 

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Al-Namaeh M. Parkinson’s disease and convergence insufficiency: A meta-analysis. Poster Session. Presented at: Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) 2021 Annual Meeting; May 1-7, 2021. Abstract 3493764.