Similar Symptoms as ADD/ADHD

Updated: Aug 22, 2021


There has often been a correlation between ADHD/ADD and binocular vision dysfunction


This association may not be surprising due to the similarities of the symptoms between the two conditions. 


A child who is asked to perform near point tasks, such as homework, for long periods of time needs an efficient visual system. Many visual skills are involved in near point work. 


One skill required for near work is convergence. That is, both eyes point “in” (converge) in order to align both eyes to obtain a single image. Another skill required is accommodation. This is what happens when the eye “focuses” (similar to a camera lens) in order to obtain a clear image. Yet another visual skill required is oculomotor coordination. This is needed in order to move the eyes from spot to spot on the page, needed in reading or writing.


If just one of these skills is not working efficiently, siting and attending to a near point task can be extremely uncomfortable. If a child is experiencing this discomfort, he/she is required to make a decision; get up and stop attending to the near point task or stay and tough it out. Toughing it out may cause headaches, eye strain or frustration. Discontinuing the activity or avoiding it all together may be mistaken for an ADHD/ADD-like behavior.


If there are concerns with attention and performance, more specifically noted when near point activities are involved, it is important to get a vision exam from a developmental optometrist. It is crucial to determine if the visual system is leading or impeding.

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