Eye Disorder Linked to ADHD in Children
NEW YORK, Apr 14, 2000 (Reuters Health) -- An eye disorder appears to be linked to
attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, according to University of
California, San Diego researchers.
The eye problem, called convergence insufficiency, is a physical problem of the eye that
makes it difficult to keep both eyes focused on a near target. The
disorder affects less than 5% of children -- but the research team found that it is three
times more common in children with ADHD than in other children.
``This is the first report on the potential connection of these two disorders,'' Dr. David
B. Granet said this week during the American Academy of Pediatric Ophthalmology and
Strabismus meeting in San Diego.
Granet and colleagues reviewed the records of 266 children identified as having an
inability to keep both eyes focused on a close target. The investigators found that
26 children (9.8%) also had a diagnosis of ADHD. ``Twenty of these patients were on
medication for ADHD when diagnosed with convergence insufficiency,'' Granet told Reuters
When the researchers reviewed their institution's records of 1,700 children diagnosed with
ADHD, they discovered that about 176 also had eye exams, Granet said. ``Of these, almost
16% or 28 children also had convergence insufficiency,'' he added.
This analysis shows that ``children with ADHD had three times the incidence of convergence
insufficiency than what was expected in children walking in off the street,'' Granet said.
Convergence insufficiency ``makes it more difficult to concentrate on reading,
which is also one of the ways doctors diagnose ADHD,'' Granet commented.
``Convergence insufficiency may not be well known outside the field of eye care
specialists,'' Granet told Reuters Health. ``We don't know if children are being
misdiagnosed with ADHD when they truly have convergence insufficiency or vice versa,'' he
said. ``We also don't know if one causes the other or if medications used for ADHD cause
convergence insufficiency,'' he added.
``More study needs to be completed to confirm the connection and to answer these
questions,'' Granet said.
Granet also noted that convergence insufficiency responds to eye exercises that can be
done at home.
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