Occlusion therapy for amblyopia

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39343.640938.80 (Published 04 October 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:678
  1. Sjoukje E Loudon, research fellow1,
  2. Huibert J Simonsz, professor of ophthalmology2
  1. 1Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School, Department of Ophthalmology, Boston, MA 02115, USA
  2. 2Erasmus MC University Medical Centre Rotterdam, Department of Ophthalmology, PO Box 2040, 3000 CA Rotterdam, Netherlands
  1. seloudon{at}yahoo.com

Electronic monitoring of compliance shows that prescribing longer periods of occlusion is not always better

Amblyopia affects about 3-5% of the population. Occlusion therapy using an eye patch to cover the non-amblyopic eye for a couple of hours each day has been the principal means of treatment. The sensitive period in which vision loss can develop and be recovered is generally up to 6 years of age.1 In many European countries, population based screening and treatment by orthoptists has reduced the proportion of people with untreated or insufficiently treated amblyopia to about 1% of the population.2 3

The effectiveness of screening and treatment for amblyopia in the United Kingdom has been questioned because of insufficient evidence from randomised controlled trials,4 and an effort is now being made to assess its effectiveness and cost. In this week's BMJ, a randomised controlled trial by Stewart and colleagues compares the effect of prescribing six or 12 hours of occlusion each …

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