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Vision Therapy & ADHD


Coleman Vision In Joplin is the leading vision therapy practice in the 4 states. With over 67 years of cutting edge eye care, our 2nd and 3rd generation of Dr. Coleman’s have extensive experience with the interplay between vision and behavior.

Research indicates that the relationship between vision and ADHD goes two ways.

  1. Children with ADHD are more likely to have Vision Issues that require correction with Vision Therapy.
  2. A significant amount of children diagnosed with ADHD may have a vision issue that either explains the symptoms or make the symptoms far less severe when corrected.

As the research is constantly being updated, we advice teachers and parents that are concerned about their child or students vision and or behavior to reach out to our Eye Doctors at

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Convergence Insufficiency and ADHD

Convergence Insufficiency is the condition where the eyes turn naturally outwards, in order to compensate, the eye converge inwards, however in the process the child finds it difficult to read and do other near tasks without side effects such as blurry vision and fatigue.

Recent studies show that as many as 1 in every 20 students have convergence insufficiency and that children with this condition are 300% more likely to have ADHD.

The commonly accepted symptoms of ADHD are inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. As you see from the list on the right, there are many commonalities between the symptoms of Convergence Insufficiency and ADHD as well as Dyslexia.


Is My Childs ADHD Misdiagnosed?

The symptoms of Convergence Insufficiency are similar to the symptoms of ADHD and Dyslexia. Because the symptoms are so similar, and many in the medical profession are unaware of the connection between vision and behavioral disorders, some of the diagnosis's are being called into question.

Symptoms of Convergence Insufficiency

  • blurred vision
  • double vision
  • short attention span
  • sleepiness during the activity
  • trouble remembering what was read
  • Eyestrain
  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Often losing place
  • Squinting
  • Rubbing eyes
  • words appear to move, jump, swim or float

What Does The Research Say?

Study #1
The American Academy Of Optometry

Study Indicating that children with Convergence Insufficiency and parents that report behavioral symptoms such as ADHD can benefit from a developmental eye exam to assess if they have vision issues that are considered behavioral.

Study #2
2014 American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus

Children with Vision impairment are more likely to have ADHD.

Study #3
Dr. Garnet, Professor of Ophthalmology and Pediatrics At University of California San Diego

Dr. Garnet MD “We don’t know if convergence insufficiency makes ADHD worse or if convergence insufficiency is misdiagnosed as ADHD.”

Study #4 Study #5

Two studies by Eric Borsting, OD, MS, FAAO, FCOVD assessing the effects of Vision Therapy treatment on the behavior and academic behavior of children with Convergence Insufficiency.

Study #6

Position Paper by the American Academy Of Optometry, outlining the connection between vision, learning disabilities, dyslexia, and ADHD.

Learning Disabilities and Vision

The Connection Between Learning Disabilities and Vision

60% of learning disabled students failed two or more binocular vision tests according to research by the Waterloo School of Optometry. The study was performed on students who had never received an eye exam and did not wear glasses or contacts. The research confirmed that children with learning disabilities, especially reading related learning disabilities have an extremely strong chance of having binocular issues (problems with the eye working together).

How Many Students Have Binocular Vision Problems?

According to research performed by The American Academy Of Optometry 32% of University students had Binocular Vision Issues. The conclusion of this study is: "Because these dysfunctions have a negative effect on performance, appropriate vision evaluation for this population is important. In this study 31% of the students needed Vision Therapy for symptoms such as eye strain, double vision and headaches.

Vision Therapy: Reading and Dyslexia

Reading is the perfect example of a complex visual task that requires skills such as eye tracking and focusing (accommodation), and eye teaming and coordination (Binocularity).

According to Dr. Debra Walhof M.D, member of the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

"It is important to remember that normal sight may not necessarily be synonymous with normal vision...That being said, if there is a vision problem, it could be preventing the best tutoring and learning methods from working. Now that certainly doesn't mean every dyslexic child needs vision therapy, however in my opinion, skills such as focusing, tracking and others are essential foundational tools for reading. In general, if your child has trouble with reading or learning to read, getting a vision evaluation to assess these skills from a qualified Developmental Optometrist would be a smart move."

What Is Vision Therapy?

Vision Therapy are special exercises that are tailored to the particular needs of the patient. The goal of these exercises is to teach the brain and the eyes (or both eyes) to work together more effectively. Our Optometrists are members of the premier Vision Therapy organization the College Of Optometrists in Vision Development(COVD) and Nuero Optometric Rehabilitation Association (NORA).

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