Vision therapy expert states ADHD over-diagnosed; medication over-distributed.
Gainesville, NY, -- (SBWIRE) -- 06/20/2012 -- A recently published New York Times opinion article on ADHD has caused many psychiatrists and psychologists to state their opinions regarding the use of Ritalin as a treatment. Opinions can be seen, on blogs, in newspapers, and throughout the pages of the World Wide Web, castigating and defending the piece’s author, Dr. L. Alan Sroufe. In the piece “Ritalin Gone Wrong,” Dr. Sroufe proposes the possibility that Ritalin is not, by itself, a long-term solution to ADHD.
According to Dr. Tod Davis, a developmental optometrist and vision therapy expert, this assessment is largely accurate.
“ADHD is a complex issue,” Dr. Davis asserts. “The spirit of Dr. Sroufe’s article is that we should not treat a complex problem as though it were simple by treating it with a pill. There should be other measures wrapped up in that. Even more important, Ritalin treatment is only going to be helpful if the child actually suffers from ADHD in the first place. Dr. Sroufe mentions that Ritalin prescription has increased by a factor of twenty since the drug’s FDA approval 30 years ago—has incidence of the disorder increased this much, though? For that reason alone, it makes sense to believe that over-diagnosis is occurring for ADHD today.”
When asked how over-diagnosis might be occurring, Dr. Davis points to vision disorders, such as convergence insufficiency. “Many vision disorders can cause ADHD-like symptoms, and convergence insufficiency is one of those.”
Experts estimate that 1 in every 20 children suffer from convergence insufficiency. However, one research study, performed in 2000 by San Diego researchers, found that, “children with ADHD had three times the incidence of convergence insufficiency than what was expected in children walking in off the street,” according to Dr. David B. Granet of the Shiley Eye Center.
“This correlation could imply that some misdiagnoses of ADHD are occurring,” notes Dr. Davis. “A thorough vision screening with a qualified optometrist may be a good ‘second opinion’ to consult if your child has been diagnosed with ADHD. What may be the case is that the child has an easily correctable vision problem, and this is either causing or exacerbating the child’s ADHD-like symptoms.”
ADHD is one of the most common childhood behavioral disorders. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5.4 million children between the ages of 5-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD since 2007.
“If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD, speak with a developmental optometrist or vision therapy expert,” Dr. Davis suggests. “They will be able to conduct a thorough eye screening in order to determine whether there is a vision-related problem.”
About Dr. Tod Davis
Dr. Tod Davis Developmental Optometry and Vision Therapy Services offices are located in Gainesville, Fredericksburg and Winchester, Va. Dr. Davis is a developmental optometrist with over 30 years of experience treating people of all ages for a spectrum of different vision disorders, including convergence insufficiency, strabismus, amblyopia and vision-related reading difficulties. Visit DavisVisionTherapy.com for more information, patient forms and contact information.