Autism and the Eyes

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability that usually develops during childhood. It usually affects a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others. Being that April is National Autism Awareness Month we thought we would take a closer look at the relationship between Autism and eye health.

In fact, many of the behavioral characteristics of those falling within the autism spectrum involve the visual system. The disorder is usually diagnosed between the ages of 18 months and four years old. During that time period some visual signs may include squinting of eyes, staring at certain objects or having trouble making eye contact.  A thorough examination by a developmental eye doctor should take place.

A vision examination with a behavioral optometrist will determine not only the eye health but assess the ability to see clearly. The doctor will also be able to determine whether there is an eye turn or lazy eye and assess higher-level visual functions such as visual motor integration, or how the eyes direct the hands and the body.

The physician will then discuss treatment options in terms of lenses and prisms, how they create changes in the light energy coming into the eye, and how they allow the brain to organize visual information in a different, hopefully easier, fashion. In addition vision therapy maybe appropriate.

One in every 68 births results in a child with autism. By knowing the signs early can help treat the disorder and improve lives.

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