Should we be screening for and treating amblyopia?

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.327.7426.1242 (Published 27 November 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:1242
  1. Gordon N Dutton, consultant ophthalmologist (Sheena.MacKay@NorthGlasgow.scot.nhs.uk),
  2. Marie Cleary, senior orthoptist
  1. Tennent Institute of Ophthalmology, Gartnavel General Hospital, Glasgow G12 0YN

    Evidence shows some benefit

    In 1981 the award of the Nobel prize for medicine for the discovery of the pathophysiology of amblyopia marked a turning point in the management of children with this condition.1 Recognition that early visual experience is essential for the development of the visual brain has fundamentally changed the way we manage disorders that interfere with image formation in the eye during early life. For example, very early screening, detection, and intervention for sight threatening congenital cataract2 has practically eliminated this condition as a cause of long term visual impairment in the developed world.

    People looking after children with amblyopia often see improvement of vision after patching of the good eye and no improvement (or even deterioration) in children whose patching is not carried out as recommended,3 but the lack of controlled trials led to the recommendation that a randomised controlled …

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