MomsGetReal Guest Contributor Hayley Granton
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, often called ADHD, is a neurobehavioral condition in which children or adults have difficulty with concentration, impulsivity and motor control. The increase in the number of children diagnosed with this disorder has led to more research into the condition. One finding suggests that ADHD is related to the way that the eyes converge during visual activities.
It is estimated that about 8 percent of children between the ages of 3 and 17. However, only 80 percent of these children have been diagnosed. Common symptoms of ADHD include inattentiveness, fatigue, daydreaming, forgetting things, constant motion, high distractibility, excessive talking, impulsivity, problems taking turns, interrupting others and variable moods. Though scientists are not clear on the exact causes of ADHD, they believe a genetic component may be involved. In addition, other factors such as environmental toxins, brain injury, premature delivery, low birth weight and smoking and alcohol use during pregnancy may also play a part. Diagnosis is usually based upon a history of observed behaviors and difficulties in school settings. Generally, treatment has included both medications to lower activity levels and improve concentration as well a behavioral therapy to allow the child to control actions more effectively.
ADHD and The Eyes
Scientists at the University of California in San Diego have found a link between the incidence of ADHD and a deficiency in visual convergence. This “convergence insufficiency: is a measurable difficulty in using both eyes together as a team during close work such as reading or writing. This difficulty may cause children to take frequent breaks from work to relieve their eye discomfort. The problem is not detectable during standard eye testing. It must be done as a more intensive examination of eye function. This evidence has sparked further research into ADHD and eye function.
A Test For ADHD
In the United Kingdom, the first eye test to diagnose eye convergence problems as it relates to ADHD has been developed. This test offers biological evidence for diagnosis of ADHD and will help to prevent misdiagnosis of ADHD in children with similar behavioral problems. Though the test is not currently available widely, it is expected to become a standard for diagnosis in coming years.
How Early Intervention Can Help
An accurate test for visual convergence problems would be able to allow professionals to diagnose ADHD problems at an earlier age. Treatment could then begin earlier, preventing much of the frustration and family problems that occur when dealing with an undiagnosed ADHD child. Early intervention would also prevent academic problems in early grades that sometimes have a long lasting effect.
Hayley is a freelance blogger who contributed this post on behalf of Titusville eye doctor, Kutryb Eye Institute.