Article Date: 12/1/2011

Is it ADD or Hyperopia?
Street Smarts

Is it ADD or Hyperopia?

By Dan Beck, OD, Leland, N.C.

A 9-YEAR-OLD girl came to my office for a routine eye exam, claiming to have no vision issues. She had passed her school's vision screening test. But her mother said her daughter has difficulty concentrating in school and was recently diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder and placed on medication.

Her unaided visual acuties were 20/20 in each eye and all pre-testing was normal, aside from a mild esophoric deviation. The autorefractor recorded +3.25sph in each eye, and 30 minutes after instilling cyclopentalate drops into her eyes, the wet refraction results were + 5.00 OD and +5.50 OS. I explained that her eyes were working much harder than most of her classmates, especially during desk work and reading. I fitted her with a modified prescription and explained how eyeglasses would allow her eyes to work normally.

No Meds Required

Two months later, the patient reported that she was doing much better in school. In addition, her mother said she no longer needed medication for ADD.

Consider Glasses Before Meds

High, undiagnosed hyperopia can cause children to display symptoms similar to ADD/ADHD, including difficulty concentrating and problems with reading. Before any child is prescribed medication for ADD or ADHD, a thorough eye examination is vital. How many kids are on ADD/ADHD medication just because they're very farsighted? Scary to think about… nOD

“Curing” ADD, Dr. Beck is a graduate of the Pennsylvania College of Optometry. Reach him at

Optometric Management, Issue: December 2011