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Editorial |

How Much Amblyopia Treatment Is Enough?

Michael X. Repka, MD
Arch Ophthalmol. 2008;126(7):990-991. doi:10.1001/archopht.126.7.990.
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Amblyopia treatment is accepted by consensus as a valuable medical intervention.1,2 If amblyopia is not treated in children and adolescents, it results in a lifetime of unilateral or bilateral visual loss. Recent clinical trials have clarified many aspects of proper treatment. The Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group has demonstrated visual acuity improvement in most eyes with moderate amblyopia associated with strabismus or hypermetropic anisometropia. This outcome has been accomplished with eye patch occlusion or atropine penalization of the fellow eye.36 In many cases, minimally disruptive treatment protocols, such as patching for 2 hours per day or administering atropine eye drops twice weekly, have been effective. Indeed, investigators have found that an initial period of glasses correction alone before adding occlusion or other therapy can cure amblyopia in as many as one-third of affected children and improve it in many others.7,8 It might be noted that, despite occlusion therapy's long history of clinical application, it was not until 2006 that this therapy was shown to be more effective than no treatment in controls given glasses.9

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