Kids' Vision Problems and ADD

Kids' Vision Problems and ADD
When I was a child, I didn't realize how much different my vision was from my peers'. In seventh grade, I was diagnosed with amblyopia, commonly called a lazy eye. Amblyopia starts in infancy when the two eyes do not focus together. Double vision occurs, then the brain basically shuts down one eye's pathway, or optic nerve, so that the vision is not double. This can be reversed by covering the good eye, and forcing the non-functioning eye to work. What does this have to do with Attention Deficit Disorder? A new study from researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham was published in Optometry and Vision Science. This study showed a link between Attention Deficit Disorder and vision problems that are not corrected by glasses or contact lenses. These vision problems included lazy eye and color blindness.

This study was a survey of 75,000 children, ages 4-17, who had vision problems that are not corrected by glasses or contact lenses. Data was used from the National Survey of Children's Health. What did it find? When the researchers looked at children without these vision problems, 8.3 percent had a diagnosis of ADHD. When children with these vision problems were considered, the number of ADHD diagnoses jumped to more than 15 percent. There is no indication that one thing causes the other, but when a child has these vision problems, parents might want to think about whether ADD/ADHD could be a fellow traveler with the vision impairments.

What problems can come with vision impairment in the classroom? It can be more difficult to see the board. Reading can be a problem. A child's reading rate might be slower. It might be harder for a child to read effectively. A child who doesn't see well can also appear to be clumsy. If your child has any of these problems, perhaps an eye appointment should be in their future, especially if they already have a diagnosis of ADHD/ADD.

More work needs to be done to tease out the link between Attention Deficit Disorder and vision problems that are not corrected by glasses or contact lenses.

University of Alabama at Birmingham. (2016, February 25). Link between ADHD, vision impairment in children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 26, 2016 from

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