Appelbaum Vision is conveniently located in Bethesda and Annapolis, minutes away from Metro Washington DC!

Hours of Operation

  • M - W - F : 10:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • T - Th : 10:30 am - 7:30 pm
  • Sa : 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Vision problems involving eye movement and focus can often cause "ADD/ADHD like behaviors"

Attention Problems: Are They Due to Vision, ADHD, or Both?

Symptoms for ADD/ADHD and vision problems are often the same. It is critical to have a functional eye exam to determine whether or not vision problems are causing these symptoms of inattention.

girl reading

It is very important to understand that if your child enjoys being read to, will sit and listen for long periods of time, but demonstrates attention problems when using eyes for reading, deskwork, or homework, there is an excellent chance that your child’s attention problem is caused by an inability to use his/her eyes. There is no “biochemical imbalance” which allows children to attend when information comes in through the ears, but distracts children when information comes in through the eyes.

Similarly, if a child can pay attention for math, but not pay attention for reading, there is no “biochemical imbalance,” which occurs when the child looks at numbers but disappears when the child looks at words. In math, other than story problems, there is less visual information to cope with. The child looks at individual numbers and, as often as not, copies them one at a time, getting the hands into the act. In reading, the letters are crowded together so visual problems can more easily cause the letters to “run together.” Children who can pay attention for math but lose attention for reading, frequently have a visual problem masquerading as an attention problem.

However, if when you read to your child, his attention is better, but still a problem, then any number of causes—along with vision—could be contributing to the attention problem. For instance, your child might not understand the words, or there could be some other health problem making attention difficult.  Whatever the reason for your child’s struggle with attention, or behavior, untreated vision problems will only increase frustration, trigger behavior problems, and make things worse.

Problems with Visual Abilities could be masquerading as ADD or ADHD.

At Appelbaum Vision, we work with children whose attention problems are caused by vision.

We also work with the vision problems of children who have attention problems caused by other reasons. It is not uncommon, for instance, to encounter children with ADHD who struggle with reading, whether or not they are on medication. Handling the vision problems may help solve the reading problem even though a general attention problem remains for other reasons.

For more information on Vision and ADHD visit VisionHelp's website.

Schedule an appointment

For additional information, please
Email Appelbaum Vision
, or call us at

Building blocks