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The Link Between Autism And Vision Disorders

Children who identify on the autism spectrum have diverse needs, challenges, and symptoms. Vision care is an essential part of understanding those needs.

April Is Autism Awareness Month, and we want to shed some light on the link between autism and vision disorders. Since autism spectrum disorders (AMDs) affect how we process and respond to sensory information, it’s important to evaluate exactly what visual sensory information is going in.

Vision Problems May Be More Common In Children With An ASD

Recent studies have found that refractive errors, like near-sightedness, far-sightedness, and/or astigmatism, may be more common in those with an ASD. The same goes for strabismus (often called cross-eye) and amblyopia (lazy eye). These problems can be treated, corrected, and sometimes even prevented, especially if we can catch them early in life.

Signs Of Poor Vision Can Be Dismissed As Autistic Behavior

Poor vision can be especially hard to catch in children with an ASD, since signs are attributed to, or blended with, autistic behavior. This might include:

  • inability to follow things with their eyes (or “tracking”).
  • over-intent focusing, or lack of focus.
  • missing cues that come from peripheral vision.

An Exam From A Specialist Is Necessary

Standard vision screenings at schools miss a large percentage of vision disorders. Healthy eye development for children with an ASD requires continuing care with a professional who understands your child and his or her needs. From early exams and diagnosis, to regular monitoring throughout development, your child’s eyesight is safe in our hands.

Properly diagnosing and correcting vision problems isn’t a cure-all. However, as Dr. Temple Grandin states, “a child who can see his world clearly has a much better chance of benefiting from other therapies.

Let Us Know How We Can Help

We believe in being there for patients through the long haul. We’ll take time with you and your child to help you both understand the process of the exam, and the steps we can take to correct and protect their vision.

Thank you for being a valued part of our practice family.

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Top image by Flickr user Varvara used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.