• by Dr. Z Aleksic

Parents take note: ADHD vs Convergence Insufficiency. Has your child been misdiagnosed?



We all worry about our children when they complain about school. Equally, we all get irritated when our children complain about school. We are only human, and being a parent is tough enough, but trying to get your child to focus on something in which they are not interested is even tougher.

So, parents, this topic is for you. Is your child simply not interested? Are they struggling to focus to the extent that they are not completing the school work that is required of them? If this becomes noticeably different to their peers, many parents jump to behavioural therapists, considering the possibility of their child having ADHD. Whilst this is always recommended when the symptoms indicate it, we recommend seeing your local eye doctor too. You may be surprised by what you find.

  • Seeing double when working closely with something

  • Having headaches frequently when reading

These are the most common symptoms of a very common condition called Convergence Insufficiency.



What is Convergence Insufficiency? For words on a page to appear in focus, a child’s eyes must turn inward or converge. But, with convergence insufficiency (CI) their eyes do not converge easily. As a result, additional muscular effort must be used to make the eyes turn inwards.

Symptoms of CI include reading slowly, loss of concentration, loss of place, blurry vision, eye strain, headaches and double vision.


Although this may be the first you have heard about it, CI is actually very common and can be very frustrating for families who deal with it. Often it is not quickly diagnosed, causing families to try multiple doctors before they arrive at the correct diagnosis. This is because, for many parents, it is not their first thought to book a consultation at their local eye doctor. Reason being that CI is so often misdiagnosed as ADHD, due to the great overlap in symptoms.


“Many children appear to have ADHD when in reality, they have ‘visual inattention’— for a good reason. The problem is that these patients are usually lumped together, and end up in special education, often medicated.”

https://www.optometrists.org/vision-therapy-for-adhd/scientific-studies-connect-convergence-insufficiency-and-adhd/

This misdiagnosis of ADHD is a problem for many reasons, including the child being unnecessarily medicated, as well as the waste of resources and finally, the preservation of emotions.


This is why we suggest booking a comprehensive eye examination for your child, as they may not be aware of their symptoms. Children often are not. Eye doctors can help understand that it is actually vision that they are having trouble with, and recommend necessary vision therapy which is a very effective treatment.


We are associated with optometrists who we know well and trust to help us come to a diagnosis. Book your family in now for a comprehensive eye exam:


Oxia Optical:

https://www.oxiaoptical.co.za/make-an-appointment


Our rooms:

https://www.eyesurgery.co.za/make-an-appointment


By detecting this problem through visiting your local eye doctor, you can move forward with treatment, support and a better understanding of your child’s struggles at school. This will have a huge impact on their ability to understand what is going on in the classroom; to study, read and grow their confidence.