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September is ADHD Awareness Month

22830-custom-ribbon-magnet-sticker-ADHD+AWARENESSAttention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD is a term easily recognized, yet very controversial and greatly misunderstood.

FACT: The exact cause of ADHD is unknown. Medical personnel have theorized it begins with a chemical imbalance, but they do not know what causes it, how to prevent it or cure it.

MYTH: If your child has difficulty maintaining his attention span and is impulsive and hyper, he MUST have ADHD.

FACT: There are as many as 50 medical, social and sensory disorders that produce the SAME symptoms as ADHD. Possibilities include food allergies, sleep disturbances, caffeine/sugar overuse and undiagnosed vision problems.

Studies show nearly 20% of school-aged children have eye teaming or focusing problems which make it difficult to maintain their attention span. These children are fidgety and highly distractible, make careless errors, avoid reading and fail to complete assignments. However, their inability to stay focused is NOT ADHD, but is caused by the discomfort of using their eyes for long periods of time at close range.

If the term ADHD is being discussed about your child, please schedule an appointment with us first. We provide a thorough developmental vision evaluation that is not part of the eye chart or school exams children typically get. A basic exam gauges only 20-foot blackboard sight (20/20), but it is the near-vision deficiencies which imitate ADHD symptoms. We test both far and near vision, including assessing a child’s ability to focus and track words across a page and whether or not his eyes work together as a team.

If your child has vision problems causing a short attention span, we offer a variety of options to improve this. One of our newest and most exciting options is Syntonics Phototherapy or simply Colored Light Therapy. Used properly, colored lenses and light can help calm the child and relax his eyes enough to increase his visual focus field, lengthening his attention span. This YouTube video explains more:

We will generally use light therapy in conjunction with vision therapy, a fun program filled with computer games, sports drills and other visual activities.

What we will NOT do is prescribe stimulants or barbiturates to calm your child. These drugs are unnecessary for vision problems and can produce complex and unwanted side-effects.

We have worked multiple cases where children were incorrectly diagnosed with ADHD and had treatable vision problems instead. You can read success stories on our Facebook page or in our office. Here are some testimonials from around the country on the Optometrists Network:

If your child is exhibiting symptoms of ADHD, give us a call for more information or to schedule an appointment. Adults can be treated too!