Could ADHD be misdiagnosed when in fact, an individual has an underlying vision problem instead? Is there a connection between ADHD and underlying vision problems?

What are the common symptoms between ADHD and a vision issue?

There is overlap between many of the inattention symptoms, but not as much among the impulsivity symptoms. Excessive movements, being constantly on the move, and impulsivity are among these symptoms. They are symptoms that are less frequently associated with underlying vision problems and are more likely to be ADHD symptoms.

Other common symptoms of vision issues which can be mistaken for ADHD symptoms include losing the place while reading, frequent eye rubbing or blinking, short attention span, holding reading materials close to the face and regular headaches.

Which eye condition is commonly associated with ADHD?

The most common vision problem associated with ADHD is convergence insufficiency. An eye condition called convergence insufficiency occurs when the eyes aren't focusing properly on near tasks. This can cause symptoms such as blurred or double vision and slow reading.

What are the consequences of a misdiagnosis?

The consequences of a misdiagnosis can be very serious for a child. In the case that they are mistakenly diagnosed with ADHD for a vision issue, they will not only not receive proper treatment for the issue at hand, but they will also likely receive treatment which they do not need. There is also a stigma associated with ADHD, which is stressful enough for a child who has the disorder. A child who does not even have ADHD should not have to undergo that stress, which can lead to lower self-esteem in that child.

Is it possible to receive a diagnosis of ADHD and a vision problem together?

There may be cases where a child receives a diagnosis of ADHD when they actually have an underlying vision problem. But it is also equally possible that we could have concurrent diagnoses which means we could have a child who has a diagnosis of ADHD, as well as an underlying vision problem. An example of this would be the study that Dr. Grant did where he found a threefold increase in the likelihood of a child with ADHD also having convergence insufficiency, and vice versa. Therefore, the ultimate recommendation of that study was for those with ADHD diagnoses to have their vision checked to rule out any underlying vision problems, such as convergence insufficiency or another eye teaming disorder.

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