Children with eye teaming disorders often appear to have ADD or ADHD. Like those with ADD, children with vision-based learning problems are highly distractible, have short attention spans, make careless errors, fail to complete assignments, and are often fidgety and off task. Because the sets of symptoms are nearly identical, many children are incorrectly diagnosed with ADD/ADHD when it is actually a visual problem. This is especially helpful information for parents who do not want to give their child ADD medications.
These children have difficulty using their two eyes together at the close-up distances required for reading and writing. Since they cannot control their eyes, the print on the page can appear to move, which causes them to skip words or lose their place. They may struggle with seeing the print clearly, and they might be fighting against double vision. All of these things can result in eyestrain.
Soon, they find “avoidance techniques” to get out of reading or other close-up work. They may walk around the room, look out the window, keep asking to use the restroom, talk to other kids, etc. They are taking vision breaks, without realizing what they are doing. These vision breaks relieve the eyestrain, stop the double vision and ease overall frustration.
Children with eye teaming problems have always seen this way, and most are unaware that their close-up vision is not normal. They rarely report eye strain, blurriness or double print; all they know is that they cannot continue with their seat work one more moment. As the day progresses, their condition worsens.
Any child who is suspected of having ADD/ADHD should have a complete eye exam by a pediatric optometrist with special training in children's vision. Unlike ADD/ADHD (which is only diagnosed by a list of symptoms), we run tests that are researched and measurable with pass/fail norms for their specific ages and grades.
To find a qualified eye doctor with specialized training to diagnose and treat vision-based learning problems, contact the national certifying board of the College of Optometrists in Vision Development at 1-888-268-3770 or visit their web site at http://www.covd.org.