The possible link between learning difficulties (ADD or ADHD) and vision problems is a contentious issue in the medical world. Only two studies have ever been conducted to test this link. The findings of the second and larger were just released last month by two Israeli doctors.
Five years ago, a study published in the scientific journal Eye, tested 42 children diagnosed with ADD or ADHD and found that these children had a very high probability of suffering from visual disorders. The new Israeli study expanded this existing research and found that over 83 percent of children diagnosed with ADD also suffer from significant eyesight problems that require glasses.
According to Doctor Eedy Mezer, who led the research, “the connection between vision disorders and ADD is still unclear. We are not sure yet which comes first: worsening ADD, or if vision disorders are part of ADD disturbances. The results [of the study] are important in light of increasing numbers of children who are diagnosed with ADD. The importance is also increasing because the evidence points to the possibility of addressing vision problems as part of ADD treatment.”
“Three to four times higher in sufferers of ADD”
The researchers based their study on the eye examinations of 51 children, at an average age of ten years old, diagnosed with ADD. They found a high incidence of visual problems that included: serious myopia (nearsightedness) in 43 percent of the children; astigmatism in 20 percent of the children; and lazy eye syndrome in 18 percent of the participants.
The doctors noted that “the research shows that the probability of suffering from vision problems is three to four times higher in sufferers of ADD than in the rest of the population.” Because of this the study “raises the question about the need to send any child with ADD or with suspected ADD to visual testing.”
The findings of the study, which was conducted by Doctor Eedy Mezer, a senior eye physician at Rambam Medical Center, and Doctor Tamara Wygnanski-Jaffe of Sheba Hospital, were published in the European Journal of Ophthalmology.
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