009 - Vision and Attention

Post date: Nov 11, 2015 5:47:24 PM

Counselor Notes 9

May 9, 2013

Vision and Attention

Most parents are well aware of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). What many parents aren't aware of however is that undetected vision problems have many of the same symptoms as ADHD. A typical eye exam does NOT check for all the things that go into vision and thus even a child with 20/20 eyesight could have undiagnosed vision problems.

I have been reading the book Eye Power by Ann Hoopes and Stanley Appelbaum on this subject. I would encourage all parents of children who seem to have some issues with learning disabilities, attention, and/or hyperactivity to check into this book. It may be that some (or all) of your child’s symptoms can be ameliorated with vision therapy.

Here are some notes from the book:

“Millions of people do not realize they have vision problems because they've been told they have good eyesight, or they wear corrective eyeglasses or lenses. They do not realize that eyesight and vision are not the same. That their ‘ADHD’ symptoms, reluctance to read, ‘tension’ headaches, ‘counting the pages’ when they read, fear of driving at night, problems looking people in the eye, or even fidgeting, may well be vision problems, not eyesight problems. P.1

“What few people realize – including many doctors – is that most common ADHD symptoms are identical to visual performance problems. Inattentive behaviors such as making careless mistakes and distractability, and hyperactive behavior such as fidgeting or interrupting others are just a few of the symptoms of vision problems that match ADHD problems.” P. 3

“Another 2005 study published in the journal; Strabisumus established a direct link between ADHD and CI.” P. 4 (CI is convergence insufficiency, a vision problem)

“Vision development is often delayed in children with ADHD, seizure disorders, cerebral palsy, autistic behaviors, or pervasive development disorders. Vision therapy is key for helping children build their sensory skills for better learning and function in the activities of daily living.” P. 7

“… over 80% of learning takes place through the visual system.” P. 9

“The 20/20 eyesight test measures how clearly you can see – it does not measure your visual function, and does not test your ability to see at closer distances, such as for reading and computer work. It does not tell you if you have headaches with reading, double vision, or visual stamina. The test was developed in the 1800’s by an eye doctor, Dr. Herman Snellen. This old fashioned chart also does not evaluate many other important aspects of normal vision such as eye focusing, eye coordination, focus stamina, eye teaming (binocular vision), eye movement, visual perceptual skills, and color vision. This means that though you might not need eyeglasses to see clearly, you still could have a vision problem.” P. 12

Clearly there is something for parents of children with ADHD and other learning problems to look into. I encourage you to check out the Eye Power book ($19). Even better would be to use the summer break to schedule a screening with an eye doctor that specializes in vision therapy. There are at least three in our region:

  1. Dr. Paula Johnson in Jackson (http://www.johnsonvision.com/ 731-660-1100)

  2. Dr. Daxx Dunn in Cool Springs (http://drdaxxdunn.com/ 615-771-2550)

  3. Dr. Christina Danley in Franklin (http://center4vision.vpweb.com/?prefix=www 615-791-5766)

I hope it helps!

Doug Muha Ed.S.

School Counselor

Waverly Elementary School