Convergence Insufficiency and ADHD

Most people are familiar with ADHD, but fewer with convergence insufficiency. What is the connection? While it is a fact that learning-related vision problems are not learning disabilities, they can be comorbid with each other, and some are more commonly found together.

 

Convergence Insufficiency and ADHD in Olympia

American Family Vision Clinic

What is Convergence Insufficiency?

Convergence insufficiency is when the eyes have trouble working together to focus on a near object. People who suffer from convergence insufficiency will often have difficulty focusing and reading for extended periods due to the strain on their eyes. Convergence insufficiency is separate from simple 20/20 vision, and, in fact, one can both have 20/20 vision and convergence insufficiency. 

Symptoms

Someone suffering from convergence insufficiency, in addition to having trouble generally concentrating on up-close tasks such as reading, writing, or drawing, will oftentimes exhibit other symptoms such as eye strain, blurred vision, and headaches. You will likely notice that they read slowly, may read the same line repeatedly or lose their place entirely, and they may have trouble remembering what they have read.

What is ADHD?

ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is generally known as a condition in which someone both has extreme trouble focusing and displays excess energy, making it harder to sit still in places such as the classroom. ADHD is classified as a developmental disorder, but it very often results in difficulty learning.

 

Symptoms

Children with ADHD will also have difficulty focusing on tasks, and, while reading, are also likely to read more slowly and lose their place often. Additionally, children with ADHD can have difficulty remembering what they have read. In both cases as well, frustration at the difficulty with reading can lead to fidgeting and a more visible inability to pay attention

What is ADHD?
What’s the Connection?

What’s the Connection?

Due to the fact that both convergence insufficiency and ADHD make it harder to focus on tasks for extended periods of time (there is no small amount of overlap between their respective list of symptoms), and the fact that ADHD is a much more well-known condition, children with convergence insufficiency can be misdiagnosed as having ADHD.

What’s the Connection?

In fact, recent studies show that children with visual impairments are twice as likely to be diagnosed as having ADHD than the overall average. Additionally, a 2000 study found that children who were diagnosed with ADHD are three times as likely to have convergence insufficiency.

These results are another indication that at least some of these children might not need ADHD medication if their convergence insufficiency was properly diagnosed and treated.

At present, however, there is not a complete consensus on whether ADHD and convergence insufficiency are closely related, or if the higher prevalence of ADHD diagnoses is simply due to convergence insufficiency being a less well known condition.

There is also no evidence that either disorder causes the other. Although, as was already mentioned, they are often found together.

What is ADHD?
What’s the Connection?

Plan of Action

 

Get a Diagnosis

If your child is having attention issues in the classroom or while doing homework, and if there is reason to suspect they have an attention disorder or a learning disorder, make sure to also get your child a developmental eye exam by our optometrist. If a vision issue is discovered, our eye doctor will be able to make recommendations on treatment. It is generally advisable to attempt to treat a vision issue which may be the cause of the attention difficulties before resorting to medication for ADHD. In addition to a proper diagnosis of convergence insufficiency potentially saving your child from receiving treatment for the wrong disorder, the stigma of having a learning disorder is something best avoided--especially if the child does not actually have one.

Seek Treatment

Vision therapy is an effective method for treating convergence insufficiency, though it will not help an ADHD patient unless they also have a vision issue. Vision therapy treatment includes numerous exercises designed to train the patient to use their eyes more efficiently and ensure that the entire visual system is functioning as it should. Vision therapy treatment is highly individualized based on the needs of the patient, so that they can achieve the best possible outcome.

Dr. Zurcher cartoon

Summary

When issues of focus in the classroom arise, both convergence insufficiency and ADHD are potential culprits. Learn more about the connection between these two disorders, and contact us to schedule an appointment if you suspect your child has a vision issue impacting their learning ability.

Testimonials


  • Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.


    Anna P.

  • I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.


    June S.

  • Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.


    Christine R.

  • Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.


    Lars Wulff

  • Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.


    Justin E.

Blog

Atkinson Hyperlegible Font (1)

Atkinson Hyperlegible Font

Named after Braille Institute founder, J. Robert Atkinson, Atkinson Hyperlegible font is great for low vision readers.  In contrast to […]

Read More
displeased-grey-haired-man-suffers-headache-keeps-hands-head-reveal-pain-needs-painkillers-has-migraine-after-noisy-party-wears-formal-shirt-isolated-brown-wall

Binocular Vision Dysfunction (BVD)

Binocular vision refers to the ability of the eyes to work together. The term binocular vision dysfunction describes a misalignment […]

Read More
woman-putting-eye-drops-sore-eyes (1)

Contact Lens Discomfort Caused by Dry Eyes

Dry eye symptoms are the main reason that most people stop wearing contact lenses. There are many causes and reasons […]

Read More
see all blogs

Contact Us To Amplify Your EyeCare

American Family Vision Clinic Logo

Working Hours

Monday-Thursday
8:30AM-5:00PM

Friday
8:30AM-3:00PM

Saturday-Sunday
Closed

Location
400 Yauger Way SW. Bldg 1, Ste A Olympia, WA 98502
Fax
(360) 459-1097
Website Accessibility Policy
Safety protocols page
privacy policy
Cancellation Policy
For Patients
appointment
Call Us
Referrals
Assessments
eyefile-adduserphone-handsetcalendar-fullarrow-uparrow-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram