R Farrar, M Call, W C Maples

A comparison of the visual symptoms between ADD/ADHD and normal children

publication date
2001 Jul
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Background: Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are commonly diagnosed conditions that affect the lives of many individuals Diagnosis of ADD/ADHD is based primarily on observation, although more-objective tests are being developed. Ritalin is the most-popular treatment for ADD/ADHD. Literature indicates the ADD/ADHD patient may experience visual system dysfunctions. The purpose of this article is to document visual system symptoms that may coexist with treated ADD/ADHD.

Methods: Forty-three subjects were separated into two groups, which were matched for age and gender The experimental group had previously been diagnosed as ADD/ADHD and was under pharmacological treatment. The control group was comprised of non-ADD/ADHD children. A modified College of Optometrists in Vision Development (COVD) Quality of Life Outcomes Assessment was given to the parents of each child, which the child and parent completed together. The results between the experimental and control group were then compared.


Results: Results show that ADD/ADHD subjects report and/or experience more symptoms of visual system dysfunction than age-matched norms. Fourteen of the 33 symptoms were found to be significantly more severe in the ADD/ADHD group than in the control group. These symptoms were relatively evenly divided between four major symptom groups.

Conclusions: ADD/ADHD children, even with current medical treatment, exhibit more visual and quality of life symptoms than do a similar group of non-ADD/ADHD children.

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