Visual fields in children with attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder before and after treatment with stimulants


Lene Martin
Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Ophthalmology and Vision
Karolinska Institute, St Erik’s Eye Hospital
SE 112 82 Stockholm
Tel: + 46 8672 3668
Fax: + 46 8672 3330


Purpose:  This study aimed to evaluate visual function in children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), to correlate these data with the morphology of the optic nerve, and to find out if and how psychostimulant medication affects visual functions.

Methods:  The visual acuity (VA) and visual fields (VFs) of 18 children with ADHD (two girls and 16 boys), aged 6–17 years, were examined before and after treatment with psychostimulants. A control group, consisting of 24 children (nine girls and 15 boys), aged 7–18 years, were examined twice to evaluate the repeatability of the tests and the learning effect. Fundus photographs were analysed by digital planimetry.

Results:  Visual acuity increased significantly (p = 0.0039) in the ADHD group after treatment. The difference between the two VF examinations was significantly larger in the ADHD group compared with the control group (p = 0.036). Significantly more ADHD subjects had subnormal VF results without stimulants, compared with controls (p = 0.0043), but with stimulants the difference was no longer significant.

Conclusions:  Children with ADHD showed better VA and VF results with than without psychostimulant medication.