Vision problems can be misdiagnosed as ADHD or ADD
If you think your child might have ADHD — attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder — an eye exam could reveal an entirely different cause.
Childhood eyesight problems share similar symptoms with ADHD.
If eyesight problems are diagnosed then treating them can improve your child’s quality of life — with or without an ADHD diagnosis.
It is difficult to determine whether a child has ADHD. Many of the disorder’s mechanics are still unknown, so parents can find themselves visiting multiple doctors and receiving different diagnoses.
About 10% of school-age students have eye teaming, focusing or tracking problems. This can happen when the eyes don’t cooperate or focus exactly as they should.
Eye focusing and eye teaming problems may include these symptoms:
- Short attention span
- Losing place when reading
- Difficulty remembering what he or she read
- Avoiding reading or other close activities
- Complaints of discomfort and fatigue
If those sound familiar, it’s because they can be easily misinterpreted as symptoms of ADHD.
Some visual symptoms include:
- Frequent eye rubbing or blinking
- An eye turning in or out
- Covering one eye
- Seeing double
- Holding reading materials close to the face
- Tilting the head to one side
- Frequent headaches
Optical symptoms can be tricky to pinpoint in children, since they are often unaware of what visual stress feels like, or assume the sensations they are experiencing are normal.
To determine candidacy for vision therapy to help improve clear comfortable vision, a 2-hour Initial Assessment is completed. This testing is a critical appraisal of 12 visual skills, that goes far beyond the basic eye exam and 20/20 vision clarity; it assesses visual efficiency (eye focusing and teaming), reading eye movements and visual information processing (VIP) skills. If two or more of these visual skills are significantly below normal then they are likely creating visual-anchors and reduced performance. These deficient visual skills are remedial with diligent effort and vision therapy that is doctor directed.