This page provides just two of the many research papers that link ADHD and vision problems.
There are thousands of published research articles on ADHD and vision problems, this page outlines just two of them.
1. ADHD and Vision Problems in the National Survey of Children’s Health
Optometry and Vision Science, ‘ADHD and Vision Problems in the National Survey of Children’s 2016’, May; 93(5):459-465. Dawn K. DeCarlo, Mark Swanson, Gerald McGwin, Kristina Visscher, and Cynthia
To assess the prevalence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children with normal vision versus children with vision difficulties that cannot be corrected with glasses or contact lenses (vision issues).
The National Survey of Children’s Health, sponsored by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, included 75,171 children without intellectual impairment ages 4 to 17 in this cross-sectional study.
Parent interviews yielded demographic data as well as information on vision and ADHD status.
The parents were asked if they had ever been told by a doctor or other health care professional that their child had a visual problem that couldn’t be corrected with glasses or contact lenses, ADHD, intellectual impairment, or one of 13 other common chronic childhood conditions.
A follow-up inquiry inquired about the severity of the condition. Current ADHD was the primary outcome measure.
When compared to children with normal vision, children with visual problems (15.6%) had a higher prevalence of current ADHD (8.3%).
Those with moderate vision issues (odds ratio (OR) 2.6 (95% CI 1.7, 4.4) and mild vision problems (OR 1.8, 95% CI1.1, 2.9) had the highest odds of ADHD compared to children with normal vision.
Because of the small number of children (OR 1.6, 95% CI 0.8, 3.1) with significant vision problems, their odds of developing ADHD were identical to those of children with normal vision.
Vision issues remained independently related with current ADHD (OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.2, 2.7) after controlling for confounding variables in a multivariable study.
The prevalence of ADHD was higher among children with vision issues that could not be corrected with glasses or contacts in this large nationally representative sample.
Messages for parents:
- There is a strong link between vision issues and ADHD diagnosis.
- Any child diagnosed with ADHD should also be examined for eye problems, like Convergence Insufficiency.
SEE RELATED: Can Vision Problems be Misdiagnosed as ADHD?
Schedule an appointment with an eye doctor near you to find out if your child’s attention issues are due to an undiagnosed vision problem.
Find an Eye Doctor for Convergence Insufficiency
2. Symptoms in Children with Convergence Insufficiency: Before and After Treatment
Optometry and Vision Science, ‘Symptoms in Children with Convergence Insufficiency: Before and After Treatment 2012’ Oct; 89 (10) :1512-1520. Carmen Barnhardt, Susan A. Cotter, G. Lynn Mitchell, Mitchell Scheiman, and Marjean T. Kulp: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3461822/
The Convergence Insufficiency Symptom Survey (CISS) was given to 221 children aged 9 to 18 years with symptomatic CI before and after therapy in a randomized clinical trial.
At baseline, the frequency of each symptom type was determined, the mean change in performance-related versus eye-related symptoms for treatment responders was compared.
The relationship between patient characteristics and symptom severity was determined both at baseline and after treatment for those who responded to treatment.
Regardless of age, sex, race/ethnicity, or the presence of parent-reported ADHD, the score for performance-related symptoms was higher than that for eye-related symptoms at baseline.
For both the overall and eye-related subscale ratings, symptom severity rose with age. Because of a higher performance-related score, children with parent-reported ADHD were more symptomatic than those without.
Treatment responders showed a considerable and equal improvement in performance-related and eye-related problems.
Girls experienced significantly fewer performance-related symptoms than boys, and African-American children experienced significantly fewer eye-related symptoms than white children.
Children who did not have parent-reported ADHD had significantly less symptoms overall and significantly fewer eye-related symptoms than children who did.
Because both performance and eye-related symptoms are common in children with symptomatic CI, physicians should conduct a targeted history that covers both types of symptoms to help identify children with symptomatic CI.
Messages for Parents:
- Convergence issues are real and affect the lives of many children.
- Convergence Insufficiency impacts children with ADHD more than children without attention issues.
LEARN MORE: Vision Therapy for ADHD
Schedule an appointment with an eye doctor to find out if your child’s attention can be improved with vision therapy.
This page provides just two of the many research papers that link ADHD and a common vision problem known as Convergence Insufficiency.
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