Convergence Insufficiency and ADHD

Published on
April 14, 2022

 

People are more familiar with ADHD than convergence insufficiency. Despite the fact that learning-related vision problems are not learning disabilities, they may be comorbid, meaning that they sometimes occur at the same time.

 

What is Convergence Insufficiency?

Convergence insufficiency is a condition in which the eyes have difficulty working together to focus on a near object. As a result of strain on the eyes, individuals who suffer from convergence insufficiency have trouble focusing and reading for extended periods. Insufficient convergence is different from simple 20/20 vision, and it is possible to have both 20/20 vision and insufficient convergence at the same time.

Symptoms

The person suffering from convergence insufficiency will often exhibit other symptoms as well, such as headaches, blurred vision, and eye strain, in addition to having trouble concentrating on close-up activities like reading, writing, or drawing.

 

What is ADHD?

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is characterized by the inability to focus as well as the display of excess energy, making it impossible to sit still in places such as the classroom. ADHD is considered to be a developmental disorder, but it frequently results in difficulty learning.

Symptoms

Children with ADHD may also have trouble concentrating on tasks and, while reading, are more likely to lose their place or read slowly. They may also have difficulty remembering what they have read. Likewise, frustration can sometimes lead to fidgeting and a less visible inability to focus.

 

What’s the connection between Convergence Insufficiency and ADHD?

What is the connection between my child's convergence insufficiency and their ADHD diagnosis? This is a question that is frequently asked. Based on research, ADHD is not a cause of convergence insufficiency nor is convergence insufficiency responsible for ADHD. It has been observed that they often occur together; they are comorbidities. Your child may be less likely to use their eyes up close for long periods of time when they have ADHD. If they're having trouble focusing on a reading or worksheet task, they're less likely to use their eyes in that way. Learning experiences are the way we develop skills, so, if students are not using those skills to locate, focus, and visualize information on the paper, they will be less likely to develop convergence skills. Even though ADHD and convergence insufficiency don't always occur together, and one doesn't cause the other, they are often seen together. That is why we always recommend that a child who has been diagnosed with ADHD also schedule a developmental eye exam. 

 

Can my child's poor attention span and unwillingness to sit still be misdiagnosed as ADHD?

Another reason why it is always a good idea to schedule a developmental eye exam if your child has been diagnosed with ADHD is that in some cases the symptoms of ADHD and Convergence Insufficiency overlap. Convergence insufficiency is one of the most common developmental eye conditions, with some estimates showing as many as 25% of children. If a child has a hard time focusing when looking at something up close, they will be less likely to sit still, focus, and pay attention in the classroom or during homework. Because ADHD is diagnosed by symptoms, and said symptoms often overlap with developmental vision problems, it is always a good idea to have your child seen by a developmental optometrist to rule out misdiagnosis of ADHD. Call our NYC pediatric optometrists at (212) 752-6930 to schedule a developmental eye exam today.

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Dr. Kavner is a gifted diagnostician and orthoptic therapist. He treated me several decades ago for a condition similar to dyslexia. I was having migraines five times per week. I worked with him for about a year and I experienced tremendous improvement (down to 3-4 per year) that has lasted.


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Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!


Peter G.

Dr. Kavner recommended two types of eye therapy for my daughter. One of them using bio-feedback. In just three sessions she is seeing considerably better. She shouted this morning: Ooh my God! I could not see these letters with my glasses on, and now I can see them without my glasses. If you are willing and able to invest in improving your vision, this is a good place to go to!


Kinkie F.

I have always found Dr Kavner's work, expertise and wisdom of the highest caliber. As one of the fathers of OT, occupational othomology, his depth and breadth of knowledge about the eyes' health and wellbeing of the patient is exemplary. Cannot say enough good things about him.


Allen B.
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