Understanding Accommodative Insufficiency: What It Is, Symptoms and Impact on Learning and Work

Clear vision is crucial for daily life activities, including in academics, social, and professional settings. However, many people assume that as long as they have 20/20 vision and don't need glasses, they don't have any vision problems. Unfortunately, this is not always the case, as between 2%-10% of the population experience difficulties with their visual system due to accommodative insufficiency.

Understanding Accommodative Insufficiency: What It Is, Symptoms and Impact on Learning and Work in Bellflower

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What is Accommodation?

Accommodation is the ability of the eye to change focus when looking from a distant object to a near one, allowing us to see clearly at different distances. Accommodative insufficiency occurs when the eye has difficulty accurately focusing, making nearby objects appear blurry.

What is Accommodative Insufficiency?

Accommodative insufficiency is the inability to accurately focus or sustain that focus, resulting in blurred vision, eye strain, headaches, and difficulty adjusting focus between different distances. This condition can have a negative impact on a child's learning or an adult's work performance, especially in today's digital age, where we spend extended periods looking at computer screens.

We'll delve into the details of accommodative insufficiency, including what it is, its symptoms, and how it affects performance at school and work.

There are two main types of accommodative insufficiency:

The inability to accurately focus on a near object, resulting in blurry vision.

The inability to sustain focus on a near object, causing intermittent blurry vision or eye strain.

Accommodative insufficiency can be challenging for people of all ages, especially children and those who spend extended periods looking at digital devices.

What is Accommodative Insufficiency?
What is Accommodative Insufficiency?

What is Accommodative Insufficiency?

The symptoms of accommodative insufficiency are mainly associated with vision, and they include:

  • Blurry vision: Objects appear unclear, making it challenging to see.
  • Intermittent blurry vision: Objects clear up for a brief period before becoming blurry again.
  • Difficulty adjusting focus: It becomes challenging to switch focus between distant and nearby objects.
  • Eye strain: Patients experience discomfort or pain in their eyes.
  • Headaches: Accommodative insufficiency can cause headaches, especially after prolonged periods of reading or working on a computer.
  • Avoiding near tasks: Some patients may avoid reading or working on a computer to avoid experiencing symptoms.
What is Accommodative Insufficiency?

The Impact of Accommodative Insufficiency on Learning and Work

Accommodative insufficiency can have a negative impact on a child's learning or an adult's work performance. For example, if a child struggles with intermittent blurry vision, reading or writing can become difficult, resulting in decreased academic performance. Likewise, adults may suffer from headaches and eye strain after extended screen time, negatively impacting their work productivity.

Accommodative insufficiency can also affect the ability to sustain attention, leading to difficulties in following lectures or reading for extended periods. If left unchecked, this can result in a decrease in overall performance in school or at work.

Treatment Options for Accommodative Insufficiency

Fortunately, there are treatment options available for accommodative insufficiency that can help improve vision and alleviate symptoms.

Eyeglasses & Contact lenses

One of the most common and effective treatments for accommodative insufficiency is eyeglasses. Prescription glasses can help correct refractive errors and improve the eye's ability to focus on near objects. Depending on the severity of the condition, glasses with single or progressive lenses may be recommended. Single lenses correct either near or far-sightedness, while progressive lenses gradually change the prescription from the top to the bottom of the lens, allowing for clear vision at all distances.

Contact lenses can also be an effective treatment option for accommodative insufficiency. Depending on the patient's individual needs, either soft or rigid gas permeable contact lenses may be recommended. Contact lenses can help correct refractive errors and improve the eye's ability to focus on near objects.

Vision therapy

Vision therapy is a non-invasive, non-surgical treatment option that can be effective for treating accommodative insufficiency. This type of therapy involves a series of exercises and activities designed to improve visual skills, including accommodation, tracking, and binocular vision. Vision therapy is typically conducted by our vision therapist under the guidance of our trained optometrist and can take several months to complete.

Prism lenses

Prism lenses are another treatment option for accommodative insufficiency. These lenses are designed to help align the eyes and improve binocular vision, which can reduce symptoms such as double vision and eye strain. Prism lenses can be added to eyeglasses or contact lenses and are often used in conjunction with vision therapy.

Atropine eye drops

Atropine eye drops are a medication that can be used to treat accommodative insufficiency. These drops work by dilating the pupil and relaxing the muscles that control accommodation, which can improve the eye's ability to focus on near objects. Atropine eye drops are typically used as a short-term treatment and are not recommended for long-term use.


In rare cases, surgery may be recommended to treat accommodative insufficiency. This typically involves either altering the shape of the cornea or inserting an intraocular lens implant to correct refractive errors. Surgery is typically only recommended in severe cases that do not respond to other treatment options.

It is important to note that the best treatment option for accommodative insufficiency will depend on your needs and the severity of your condition. Additionally, practicing good eye habits such as taking frequent breaks when doing near work, maintaining proper lighting, and wearing appropriate eyewear can also help alleviate symptoms and improve visual function.

What is Accommodative Insufficiency?
What is Accommodative Insufficiency?

How can I find an eye doctor near me?

If you don’t already have a trusted optometrist or you live too far from our optometry clinic in Bellflower, you could start your online search by typing in phrases such as "eye doctor near me," "vision therapy optometrist near me," or "eye specialist near me."

Dr. Ikeda cartoon

Schedule an Appointment with Our Eye Doctor in Bellflower for Accommodative Insufficiency Evaluation

If you or your child is experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, it's essential to get an eye exam to identify any visual problems, including accommodative insufficiency. Early detection and treatment of accommodative insufficiency can improve academic performance and work productivity.

Contact our office at (562) 925-6591 to schedule an eye exam with our optometrist. We offer comprehensive eye exams to identify any visual problems and provide personalized treatment plans to help you or your child see clearly and perform well in school or at work. 

Patients with functional vision issues visit our clinic from all over California, and we are proud to be a leading provider of functional vision services for patients from Bellflower, Long Beach, Lakewood, and Los Angeles.


I haven't actually used the optometrist side, so my review is limited to the vision therapy offered.  This office was recommended by my occupational therapist for the treatment of my double vision following a stroke.

Claire A.

Love this location. I had a brain injury accident from day one one. All the team make you feel you still important and hope in the horizon after when the medical system fell you miserably. Dr. Ikeda very professional and very understanding about your issue. Two tombs up.

Jim K.

My husband and I were immediately impressed with Dr Ikeda. I was hit by a car while cycling which caused broken bones and three brain injuries. The brain injuries caused double vision. Dr. Ikeda examined my eyes and got me started on vision therapy with his occupational therapist who specializes in vision therapy.  She (Chris) is absolutely great.  I am impressed with the array of tools used to help recover my binocular vision.  I am doing things I never thought were possible (balance boards etc).  Chris pushes me and keeps me motivated. I really enjoy my sessions with her.  The office staff is always friendly and they have a wonderful appointment reminder tool that makes it easy to keep my calendar up to date. I am happy the rehab center at Little Co. of Mary recommended them!!

Teresa S.

The Vision Therapy is handled in a separate office through a different door from the shared waiting room. Chris, the vision therapist, has a wide and varied assortment of tools, equipment and resources to best evaluate and treat most vision issues. After just a few visits, my double vision became easier to control, using exercises developed during the therapy process. It was time well-spent.

Joe M.

I have been coming here since I can remember. I love it here. The staff is so amazing and nice. They explain everything they gonna do and never make you feel rushed. Dr. Ikeda has always been my doctor and I would never want another one. He is the doctor for my whole family and is always asking how everyone is doing. I am also so crazy about picking out my frames and have to try so many and each person who helps me take the time and lets me try them all on. I would never want to go anywhere else! I definitely would recommend this office to anyone looking for a great eye doctor.

Kayla W.

This is not for the eye exam but for the frames selection portion. I brought my prescription from Kaiser here with my VSP insurance. The reception staff was very polite and professional.  Manny helped me to pick out frames and explain my coverage.  Very helpful and patient not like the individual at the other place I rated here on Yelp.  I was running late and he still helped me and was not bothered at all.  I am so glad I came here ..........very pleased.

Very professional staff and pleasant.

Daniel G.
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