In a recent article, Zhao and colleagues1 undertook a study in which they compared standard occlusion therapy for 2 hours per day to acupuncture for older children with amblyopia. As the Program Director of the Ohio Amblyope Registry, the first and only statewide program for children with amblyopia and their families, I found the research to be interesting, but limited.
The acupuncture therapy involved 5 sessions per week for 25 weeks in which needles were inserted at 5 locations (acupoints) including the top of the head, the left and right sides of an eye, a hand, and a lower leg for a total of 625 needle insertions. Needles were twisted after insertion and left in place for 15 minutes. Some of the needle insertions were one-half to three-fourths inches deep (LI4, BL59). Acupuncture and occlusion were assessed after 15 weeks as an outcome measure. The authors report that visual acuity in the amblyopic eye improved 1.83 lines in the occlusion group and 2.27 lines in the acupuncture group, which they stated as being equivalent.