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Vision from the perspective of brain activity

When people think about optometry, they think about vision clarity and focus, said David Bieberdorf, Grand Forks optometrist, not necessarily the complex interaction that goes on between the eye and the brain.

Poltavski approaches the study of vision from the perspective of brain activity, or "higher order visual problems," while Bieberdorf comes at it from the basis of "lower order visual problems," or how the eyes focus and work together and refractive errors such as near- and far-sightedness.

A diagnosis of ADHD can be arrived at from either direction, Poltavski said.

In their studies, the symptoms of ADHD are simulated using special glasses, he said. UND students who volunteered for the study were tested without and with the glasses.

Researchers measure lens shape in the eye over time "to see if the visual system is compromised and how it affects attention," he said.

Their research enhances communication between the professions and puts these conditions into "a bigger picture," he said.

It also has the potential "to remove some of the misdiagnoses that may be out there."

Bieberdorf said Poltavski "is going to make contributions in this whole area of ADHD that are going to be exciting."

Their research was published last year in an edition of the professional optometric journal, Vision Research.