Objective: To determine whether the results of occlusion therapy for amblyopia are maintained into adulthood.
Design: Prospective, observational case series.
Participants: Fifty-four patients, who were successfully treated in childhood for unilateral amblyopia by occlusion, were followed up to the age of 9 years, were evaluated in 1984 for long-term results 6.4 years on average after cessation of treatment, and accepted our invitation for reevaluation in 1999.
Methods: All patients were given a complete eye examination. The visual acuity (VA) was measured.
Results: The average period of follow-up was 21.5 years (range, 17.2-25.1 years). The mean age at the most recent examination was 29.0 +/- 2.1 years (range, 25.1-34). At this examination, a best-corrected visual acuity (BCVA) of 20/40 or better was achieved by 72.3% of the patients. The mean BCVA was 20/35 (20/25-20/70) at the end of occlusion therapy, 20/45 (20/20-20/300) in 1984, and 20/34 (20/15-20/100) at the present examination. Relative to the results at the end of therapy, BCVA at the present examination was maintained or improved in 66.7% of the patients. Relative to 1984, the BCVA in 1999 was maintained or improved in 87% of the patients.
Main outcome measure: Visual acuity.
Conclusion: Comparative evaluation of BCVA at a long-term follow-up examination, performed 21.5 years on average after cessation of occlusion therapy, showed that VA was maintained or improved in two thirds of patients who had been successfully treated by occlusion for unilateral amblyopia in childhood.