Diagnosed with ADHD?

Dr. Russel Lazarus, June 13, 2021

Has your child been diagnosed with ADHD? Could it be an undiagnosed vision problem?

Some vision problems present with the same symptoms as ADHD. Find out which vision problems could be causing your child to struggle in school.

Avoiding homework, difficulty reading, and poor concentration are all symptoms that are often attributed to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD); however, they can also be caused by functional vision problems.

For your child to receive the correct treatment for their symptoms, they first need a correct diagnosis. If the issue is a functional vision problem, an eye doctor will be able to identify it during a comprehensive eye exam and prescribe the proper treatment.

What are functional vision problems?

Functional vision problems are usually categorized into three main areas: eye teaming, eye tracking and eye focusing.

  • Poor eye focusing skills makes it difficult for a child to maintain clear vision at different distances.
  • Poor eye tracking skills hinder the eyes’ inability to fixate, track and jump from one item to the next.
  • Poor eye teaming skills is the inability to use the two eyes together as a coordinated team.

The challenges caused by these deficiencies in visual skills overlap with ADHD symptoms. If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD or has difficulty paying close attention to details, completing school work and following instructions, don’t risk a misdiagnosis.

SEE RELATED: Boys, ADHD and Brain Injuries

Schedule an appointment with an eye doctor near you to have your child’s functional vision assessed.

Find an eye doctor for children near you

Signs of reduced functional vision skills

According to studies, children with poor visual skills are 3x as likely as their classmates to be diagnosed with ADHD.

Certain signs and behaviors can arise when a child’s functional visual skills are impaired:

1. Difficulty paying attention in class

Regular classroom tasks become significantly more difficult, leading to tiredness, inability to sit still and feelings of frustration.

2. Reading below grade level

Eye focusing and teaming problems can make reading very difficult and uncomfortable, causing a child to read at a slower pace or avoid the tasks entirely.

3. Difficulty reading

Poor eye tracking can cause a child to jump from word to word on the page or skip lines when reading and writing. It can also make it difficult to pay attention to small details,  reduce reading fluency and increase distractibility when reading.

4. Loss of concentration

Difficulty focusing on the board can harm concentration, possibly resulting in ‘daydreaming’ or distracting classmates.

5. Rushing through school work

Reading and writing skills become more challenging when functional vision is reduced. As a result, children may speed through their homework, resulting in careless errors.

6. Difficulties playing sports

While participating in sports, it’s critical for a player to be able to estimate the position and course of the ball, as well as other players.  This is challenging for children with limited functional vision.

More symptoms of poor functional vision skills:

  • Lack of interest in reading
  • Frequent rubbing of the eyes
  • Excessive squinting

If your child has functional vision problems, vision therapy could be the go-to treatment.

Vision therapy is a personalized treatment program designed to strengthen and improve visual skills, and retrain a child’s visual system to interpret visual input with increased accuracy and ease.

LEARN MORE: Vision Therapy for ADHD

Schedule a comprehensive functional vision assessment with an eye doctor near you so they can evaluate and properly diagnose any vision problems your child may have.