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How does vision problems contribute to ADD/ADHD symptoms?


Good vision is a key for a child to succeed in school. As much as 80% of a child's learning occurs through his or her eyes. Reading, writing, chalkboard work, and using computers are among the visual tasks students perform daily. A child's eyes are constantly in use in the classroom and at play. When his or her vision is not functioning properly, education and participation in sports can suffer.

Many symptoms of visual disorders mimic symptoms of dyslexia, ADD and ADHD. Many carrying the label of dyslexic, ADD or ADHD might really have functional vision problems.

A study @ http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16361187 throws much light on the link between vision problems and ADHD.



Why are vision problems difficult to diagnose in children?

A child may not complain that he or she has a vision problem because they may think the way they see is the way everyone see. With no complaints from children, it gets very difficult for the parents to identify vision problems.

What are the signs of vision problems in children?

Signs that may indicate a child has vision problem include:

* Frequent eye rubbing or blinking

* Short attention span

* Avoiding reading and other close activities

* Frequent headaches

* Covering one eye

* Tilting the head to one side

* Holding reading materials close to the face

* An eye turning in or out

* Seeing double

* Losing place when reading

* Difficulty remembering what he or she read

How can vision problems contribute to concentration issues for children in the school?

The demands of the classroom require hours of sustained attention on cognitively difficult material. Reading requires good eye tracking and sustained visual performance. Copying from the chalkboard requires many eye focusing changes. A child who lacks the visual performance skills needed to attend and concentrate will struggle in the classroom.

When to suspect a vision problems behind a child's concentration issues?

One can suspect a vision problem when there are many instances where parents hear of symptomatic behaviors in the classroom and are baffled as to why they do not observe those same behaviors in the home where visual tasks are less demanding.

What kind of tests can confirm vision problems responsible for learning disorders?

Only a comprehensive developmental vision evaluation can eliminate the doubt when diagnosing dyslexia, ADD or ADHD or any learning disorder. A comprehensive developmental vision evaluation is more in depth than a regular eye examination and tests all visual skills that are critical to everyday life in the classroom and out.

Which symptoms of ADHD are not seen in the child when it could be vision problem and not ADHD?

When the ADHD symptoms could be due to vision problems the child may not run or climb excessively, may not have difficulty playing quietly and often not on a go.

Where as all the other symptoms of ADHD except the above mentioned could be seen in them.

When is a vision exam needed for children?

Your child should receive an eye examination at least once every two years, more frequently if specific problems or risk factors exist, or if recommended by your eye doctor.

Can both ADHD and vision problems co-exist?

Children with ADHD had three times the incidence of convergence insufficiency than what was expected in children walking in off the street.

Which vision problems could mimic ADHD symptoms in children?

The eye problem, called convergence insufficiency is a physical problem of the eye that makes it difficult to keep both eyes focused on a near target. The disorder affects less than 5% of children, but the research team found that it is three times more common in children with ADHD than in other children.

Convergence insufficiency makes it more difficult to concentrate on reading and since this is also one of the ways doctors diagnose ADHD, children with vision problems can be mislabeled.

How is convergence insufficiency treated?

Vision Therapy is the best treatment for convergence insufficiency. Vision therapy improves visual skills that allow a person to pay attention. These skill areas include visual tracking, fixation, focus change, binocular fusion and visualization. When all of these are well developed, children and adults can sustain attention, read and write without careless errors, give meaning to what they hear and see, and rely less on movement to stay alert.



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