Some ADD Cases Linked To Vision

By: Elizabeth Donatelli
By: Elizabeth Donatelli

September 29, 2005

Thousands of children have ADD and ADHD, but doctors are discovering that some of them may be misdiagnosed. There is some startling information out now indicating that their eyes are literally deceiving them.

About 25 percent of children under the age of ten are likely to have a vision problem and many go undetected because most optometrists only test for distance. Distance charts and exercises don't test functional vision--which often contributes to ADD and ADHD.

"Often with a child with Attention Deficit, the two eyes do not coordinate well together so there is a mis-timing involved and when they are focusing far to near there will be some lag," said Optometrist Dr. Kathleen Clark.

"Sometimes it looks blurry and sometimes I get double vision," said Sage Prior who is working on strengthening her eyes.

Sage is 6 years old and has been wearing glasses for half a year. Since beginning the exercises, she says she's seen a difference.

"I can see what's happening on the chalkboard and I can write better," Sage said.

Call it a gym for the eyes. Patients do physical activities and then add a visual task to their exercises. These strengthen the peripheral vision as well as focusing on multi-tasking.

"Parents will say why can't they just practice copying off the board? They didn't naturally have the skill to do it with ease," said Dr. Clark.

Not all people with ADD and ADHD have vision problems, however, these exercises can help some and cure others.

These exercises can also help some children with learning disorders and actually strengthen people distance vision. It usually takes a few weeks to see a difference and the sessions run 3 months to a year.

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