The therapy of amblyopia: an analysis comparing the results of amblyopia therapy utilizing two pooled data sets

Trans Am Ophthalmol Soc. 1999;97:373-90; discussion 390-5.


Context: We previously presented the results of an original pooled data set of 961 amblyopic patients who underwent patching therapy for amblyopia from 1965 to 1994 (study group 1). Three types of amblyopia were considered: anisometropic, anisometropic-strabismic, and strabismic. Analysis of this group's success was related to the age at which therapy was initiated, the type of amblyopia, and the depth of visual loss before treatment was begun. The purpose of the current study is to test the validity of these findings on a second group of 961 amblyopes employing the data set used by Woodruff and associates in their publications (study group 2). These 2 data sets, after adjustment to conform to the definitions of age, amblyopia, anisometropia, and similar items utilized in common between the 2 study groups, will be compared for the risk factors predictive of successful occlusion therapy.

Outcome: As in the previous study, the success of occlusion therapy is defined as a visual acuity of 20/40 or better at the end of treatment.

Results: Success by the 20/40 criteria was achieved in 73.7% in study group 1 and in 59.9% in study group 2. By category, the rate of success in study group 1 was 77.2% in strabismic amblyopia, 67.2% in anisometropic-strabismic amblyopia, and 66.0% in anisometropic amblyopia. In study group 2, success was 61.2% in strabismic amblyopia, 51.2% in anisometropic-strabismic amblyopia, and 63.0% in anisometropic amblyopia. Study group 1 univariate analysis related success in each group to the age at which therapy was initiated, the type of amblyopia, and the depth of visual loss before treatment in each group. In study group 2, univariate analysis related success of occlusion therapy to age and the depth of visual loss before treatment. Type of amblyopia was not related to outcome success in this group. When the 2 data sets were pooled, the risk factors for success were age and depth of visual loss at onset of treatment.

Conclusions: Factors that appeared closely related to a successful outcome of patching therapy were patient age and depth of visual loss before treatment. These conclusions further support the value of early detection and screening for amblyopia, its prevention, where possible, and its adequate and vigorous treatment when it is detected and diagnosed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amblyopia / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Sensory Deprivation*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Acuity