An Eye On ADHD

Focuses on convergence insufficiency, an eye disorder, among children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Findings of a related study; Information on the disorder.

By Jay Dixit, published on September 1, 2000 - last reviewed on January 23, 2015

DISABILITY

If your child is always in trouble at school and just won't settle
down, is his problem attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or
simply a case of kids being kids? New research suggests that there may be
a third, somewhat surprising, culprit.

David Granet, Ph.D., director of pediatric ophthalmology at the
Shiley Eye Center at the University of California-San Diego, reviewed the
records of 1,700 children diagnosed with ADHD and discovered that, of
those who had taken eye exams, 16% had convergence insufficiency, an eye
disorder that makes focusing on nearby targets difficult. People with
this disorder can find reading a real struggle. The study, presented
recently at an American Academy of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus
(AAPOS) meeting, indicates that children with ADHD are three times more
likely to have convergence insufficiency than other children. This
finding is worrisome particularly because doctors often test for ADHD by
examining reading concentration, creating obvious potential for
misdiagnosis.

Granet suspects that either something in the brain impairs
concentration and manifests itself as both ADHD and the eye disorder, or
that the disorder itself may cause the symptoms we label ADHD. But
parents shouldn't despair: Convergence insufficiency can be overcome by
practicing simple eye exercises at home.

"I have convergence insufficiency," says Granet. "And neither of
these diagnoses means you can't go on in life and have an interesting and
successful career."

PHOTO (COLOR): An Eye on ADHD