In February a large study by researchers from the University of Birmingham in Alabama was published in Optometry and Vision Science. They surveyed 75 000 students and found an increased risk of ADHD in children who had vision problems not correctable with lenses relative to other children.
There was a 6.7% higher chance of having ADHD in children with these problems over their peers aged 4 – 17 years of age.
The researchers aren’t saying that there is a causal link but suggest that children with vision problems should be monitored for ADHD.
Although the article doesn’t suggest taking the alternative stance of of ruling out vision problems before diagnosing ADHD, it can pay to take a closer look at vision when there is a problem with attention.
Very often in my clinical practice I find children who’ve been referred for attention and learning difficulties have challenges with vision, the causes of which can be numerous, but most often include:
- convergence insufficiency
- amblyopia (lazy eye)
- acuity differences
From a practical perspective, it makes sense that when the eyes aren’t working well, attention can be compromised.
Removing potential barriers to learning is always a good thing and eye exams before school and regularly thereafter is wise, particularly if there is a family history of visual impairment.
If you would like to screen your child’s vision quickly for amblyopia, this 15 minute online test can help. Of course it doesn’t take the place of a full professional assessment!
For more details about this study go to this article: Link between ADHD, vision impairment in children