Updated: Aug 23, 2021
Too often, pencil push-ups are assigned as an “exercise” to improve ocular convergence ability. Occupational therapists, physical therapists, chiropractors, athletic trainers, ophthalmologists and even optometrists often prescribe this sort of treatment for convergence insufficiency.
Although, in theory, this method may seem like a suitable approach, it has several flaws. More so, there is a better method that is just as portable and more effective.
First, let’s discuss why pencil push-ups lack in productivity.
To be an effective form of treatment, the procedure has to have 3 inherent properties.
The procedure has to be directed towards the area of interest, in this case, the eyes.
Feedback has to be present throughout in order to facilitate learning
Cognitive loading applied to facilitate further development of the skill
Pencil push-ups lack solid feedback. As one is looking at the pencil while bringing it in towards the nose, if two pencils are seen, the feedback is the eyes are not pointing at the pencil, BUT it is unknown if you are looking in front or behind the pencil; the appropriate adjustment will not be known.
A better tool is the Brock Sting. This tool has all 3 properties built in, most notably feedback. Even though there is only one string, as one gazes down the string, two strings will be visible (as long as there are two eyes and no suppression). Wherever the strings cross, that is the exact point were the eyes are pointing; this allows for adequate feedback to know whether or not they eyes are looking at the intended target and also allows for learning and adjustment.
Click here if you’re interested in reading the CITT (convergence insufficiency treatment trial) that supports the information provided above.
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