Can Vision Problems be Misdiagnosed as ADHD?

Published on
June 16, 2022

Could ADHD be misdiagnosed when in fact, an individual has an underlying vision problem instead? Is there a connection between ADHD and underlying vision problems?

What are the common symptoms between ADHD and a vision issue?

There is overlap between many of the inattention symptoms, but not as much among the impulsivity symptoms. Excessive movements, being constantly on the move, and impulsivity are among these symptoms. They are symptoms that are less frequently associated with underlying vision problems and are more likely to be ADHD symptoms.

Other common symptoms of vision issues which can be mistaken for ADHD symptoms include losing the place while reading, frequent eye rubbing or blinking, short attention span, holding reading materials close to the face and regular headaches.

Which eye condition is commonly associated with ADHD?

The most common vision problem associated with ADHD is convergence insufficiency. An eye condition called convergence insufficiency occurs when the eyes aren't focusing properly on near tasks. This can cause symptoms such as blurred or double vision and slow reading.

What are the consequences of a misdiagnosis?

The consequences of a misdiagnosis can be very serious for a child. In the case that they are mistakenly diagnosed with ADHD for a vision issue, they will not only not receive proper treatment for the issue at hand, but they will also likely receive treatment which they do not need. There is also a stigma associated with ADHD, which is stressful enough for a child who has the disorder. A child who does not even have ADHD should not have to undergo that stress, which can lead to lower self-esteem in that child.

Is it possible to receive a diagnosis of ADHD and a vision problem together?

There may be cases where a child receives a diagnosis of ADHD when they actually have an underlying vision problem. But it is also equally possible that we could have concurrent diagnoses which means we could have a child who has a diagnosis of ADHD, as well as an underlying vision problem. An example of this would be the study that Dr. Grant did where he found a threefold increase in the likelihood of a child with ADHD also having convergence insufficiency, and vice versa. Therefore, the ultimate recommendation of that study was for those with ADHD diagnoses to have their vision checked to rule out any underlying vision problems, such as convergence insufficiency or another eye teaming disorder.


Schedule an eye exam with our experienced eye doctor

A comprehensive developmental eye exam with our eye doctor may be a part of effective solutions for your child if they have been diagnosed with ADHD. Correcting any visual problems in your child with ADHD could be part of the solution you have been looking for. You can schedule an eye exam with us by calling us at (423) 710 3965.


Vision therapy is well worth the response, time and effort. Our Son had a hard time focusing and writing neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time if previously took. His abilities to focus improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent, we wanted learning to be fun for our Son, and vision therapy made this possible.

Amanda T.

Vision Therapy is well worth the expense, time and effort. Our son had a hard time focusing handwriting neatly. After vision therapy Seth could complete a task in half the time it previously took his abilities to focus and improved greatly and so did his handwriting.

Also, he was better at listening. As a parent you wanted learning to be fun for our son and vision therapy made this possible.

Alexa H.

Vision Therapy has given or son the tools he needs to be able to scan and read the written word more effectively and efficiently.

He love working with John and these working sessions give him the motivation to gladly work on his homework assignments.

It amazed us to see the difference in the tracking of his eyes and along a line of it's from the beginning to the end of the treatment.

Dr. McBryar , Kristen and John  are all marvelous and we would recommend them to anyone I only wish that we would have found them sooner!

Charlotte M.

Prior to coming to the institute for vision development my son complained of daily headaches. Therapy has eliminated his headaches completely. I love knowing my son is able to learn pain-free for the rest of his life because of the work that has been done over just a few weeks in this office. He he absolutely loved coming that didn't even feel like going to a doctor or therapy. We are grateful for the relief he was able to find by coming here.

Thank you!

Olivia C.

Seems much less frustrated with life

Reads non-stop and fast

Spelling abilities have been hugely improved

Seems much more confident

Thank You!!!

Kelly O.

When we first came to the practice, my son did not have huge issues, but lots of small ones- trouble with reading, sports (hitting the baseball consistently), coordination, etc- that were not easily detectable,but when put together presented issues. The staff here were all very professional and loving towards him. While I was concerned in the reading, my son was concerned with the athletic side. Seeing improvement night off the bat gave him confidence that i have nor seen in him and made him want to not only Come to therapy, but also made him want to work hard. He has surpassed his grade level and above in reading and hit his first home run this year! Thank you!!!

Alice M.
1 2 3 10


Carrots for eyes

Are Carrots Good for Your Eyes?

As an optometrist at Amplify EyeCare Chattanooga in Hixson, one of the most common questions Dr. Heather McBryar often encounters […]

Read More

Understanding Foggy vision

Is foggy vision troubling you? Let our experienced optometrist restore your sight – book an appointment today and see the […]

Read More

Vision Therapy for Nystagmus: Improving Visual Function and Quality of Life

According to the National Eye Institute, nystagmus affects approximately 0.24% of the general population in the United States. This means […]

Read More
see all blogs

Contact Us To Amplify Your EyeCare

Amplify EyeCare Chattanooga Logo

Working Hours

Monday - Tuesday
7:30AM - 5:15PM

Wednesday - Thursday
8:00AM - 5:15PM

Friday - Sunday

1043 Executive Drive Suite #101 Hixson, TN 37343
(423) 710 3966
Website Accessibility Policy
Safety protocols page
privacy policy
For Patients
Call Us
eyefile-adduserphone-handsetcalendar-fullarrow-uparrow-right linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram