Vision Therapy

What is the Correlation Between ADHD and Convergence Insufficiency?

Not too long ago, medical experts ruled out any link between vision-related problems and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder – ADHD. However, extensive research over the years has revealed that there is indeed a close and oftentimes overlapping link between the two. In fact, recent studies indicate a 3-fold increase in the incidence of Convergence Insufficiency involving children diagnosed with ADHD, and even ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder. Since the association between vision problems and ADHD / ADD was established, children now examined for the latter two disorders often undergo a mandatory eye test as part of the examination.

To better understand the correlation between convergence insufficiency and ADHD / ADD, it would help to learn a little more about each of these treatable, disorders … read on.

What is meant by the term Convergence Insufficiency?

Convergence insufficiency is one the most common vision disorders which greatly impedes a patient’s reading and learning abilities. It occurs when both eyes fail to work in unison in the manner they are required to, especially when reading at a normally accepted distance. Convergence insufficiency affects both adults and children alike. However, what’s alarming, is the fact that 1 out of 20 school-age children suffer from convergence insufficiency – the focus of a recent nationwide study, financed and conducted by the Nation Eye Institute (NEI) and the National Institute of Health (NIH).

What are the symptoms of Convergence Insufficiency?

There are several symptoms of Convergence Insufficiency, some of which are often confused with those of ADHD and ADD. Here are the main symptoms to look for.

• Eyestrain (asthenopia)
• Double vision (diplopia)
• Blurred vision
• Periodic headaches
• Squinting and eyestrain
• Irritability
• Nausea
• Dizziness
• Inability to concentrate
• Low self esteem
• Low attention span

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as the name suggests describes different behavioral traits found in many children. Such traits can often be seen in children who seldom sit still, struggle to pay attention to instructions and respond with loud, inappropriate verbiage when corrected. While most people would label such children as plain naughty or undisciplined, more often than not, the cause of their abnormal behavior could be ADHD or ADD.

What are the main symptoms of ADHD / ADD?

ADHD and ADD have 3 basic characteristics, i.e. hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity. The symptoms of both will depend on which of the following 3 characteristics a particular child demonstrates:

• The child is hyperactive and impulsive with the ability to pay attention.
• The child is inattentive, but neither hyperactive nor impulsive.
• The child displays all 3 characteristics – inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity (the most common symptoms of ADHD / ADD).

It is now an accepted fact that ADHD and ADD have a close correlation with convergence insufficiency as well as other vision-related problems. Therefore, if your child experiences some form of discomfort during reading, or displays abnormally hyperactive patterns of behavior, have him or her evaluated immediately for convergence insufficiency.

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