If you, your child or someone you know takes ADHD medication it is important to understand the possible side effects that might impact eyes, cause eye problems and alter vision. The most common prescription medication we see children and even adults taking for treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is methylphenidate which has a number of trade names such as Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall, Methylin and Daytrana. While the common side effects of loss of appetite, nervousness and difficulty sleeping are easily recognized, researchers reporting in the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus raised some concern that this treatment may be associated with increased risk of angle closure glaucoma and a disturbance of eye refraction and optical prescriptions. They initiated a study to investigate the effects of methylphenidate treatment on refraction, intraocular pressure (IOP), and the anterior chamber in children with ADHD. This was a pilot study where children diagnosed with ADHD were examined before the start of methylphenidate treatment and again 3 and 9 months after the start of treatment. Their examinations included an eye exam with ordinary as well as cycloplegic refraction-one performed with eye drops and high resolution imaging study of the anterior chamber of the eye where the delicate structures related to glaucoma could be viewed and measured.
ADHD Medication Eye Study Conclusions The researchers found that methylphenidate does not seem to affect refraction, or optical prescription in most children with ADHD. But, after 9 months of treatment there was a reduction in the eye anterior chamber depth, which has been described as a powerful predictor of angle closure glaucoma. As this was a pilot study more work is needed to really understand any increased risk.
What You Need to Know and Do If you, your child or someone you know is taking methylphenidate of any type for ADHD, it would be worthwhile scheduling a routine eye examination so that we can measure the refraction, the intraocular pressure (IOP) and anterior chamber angle and depth. We do this regularly during your eye exam. BE SURE TO TELL US YOU ARE TAKING METHYLPHENIDATE. If your eye exam is normal we will most likely ask you to have a repeat exam in a year. BUT, if at any time there s a change in your vision, pain, redness, glare or light sensitivity we want you to call right away and schedule an immediate appointment for that day.
If you or someone you know is being treated for ADHD with methylphenidate medications such as Ritalin, Concerta, Adderall, Methylin and Daytrana, it is important to have a routine eye exam to avoid any risk of eye problems please call The Eye Care & Surgery Center at 908-789-8999, visit The Eye Care & Surgery Center, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecareandsurgerycenter to schedule an appointment.
The Eye Care & Surgery Center is located at 592 Springfield Avenue, Westfield, New Jersey 07090, 10 Mountain Boulevard, Warren, New Jersey 07059 and 517 Route One South, Suite 1100, Iselin, New Jersey 08830, and is conveniently located for patients from throughout central and northern New Jersey.