COVD Fellow Dr. Erica Schulman explains how vision problems can be misdiagnosed as ADD/ADHD.
Some children with learning difficulties exhibit specific behaviors of impulsivity, hyperactivity, and distractibility. A common term used to describe children who exhibit such behaviors is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Undetected and untreated vision problems can elicit some of the very same signs and symptoms that are commonly attributed to ADHD. Due to these similarities, some children with vision problems are mislabeled as having ADHD.
New Research in Vision & ADD/ADHD
A recent study by researchers at the Children's Eye Center, University of San Diego, uncovered a relationship between a common vision disorder, convergence insufficiency, and ADHD. The study "showed that children with convergence insufficiency are three times as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD than children without the disorder."
Dr. Granet of the Children's Eye Center commented, "We don't know if convergence insufficiency makes ADHD worse or if convergence insufficiency is misdiagnosed as ADHD. What we do know is that more research must be done on this subject and that patients diagnosed with ADHD should also be evaluated for convergence insufficiency and treated accordingly."
25% of Children May Have a Learning-Related Vision Problem
This new research supports what COVD optometrists have known for some time -- a significant percentage of children with learning disabilities have some type of vision problem. One study found that 13% of children between nine and thirteen years of age suffer from moderate to marked convergence insufficiency, and as many as one in four, or 25%, of school age children may have a vision problem that can affect learning.
ADD & Vision News
Focus On Vision Problems Before ADD Diagnosis
How to Identify a Vision Problem
Vision problems can have a huge impact on academic performance and behavior in the classroom. Parents who suspect a vision problem may be contributing to their child's learning or behavior problems should arrange for a comprehensive vision examination with a qualified optometrist.
Locate a Doctor in your area who is experienced and knowledgeable in diagnosing and treating ADD- or ADHD-related vision problems.