Purpose: The purpose of this study is to analyze the visual results of full-time occlusion therapy in pediatric patients with monocular structural abnormalities and amblyopia.
Methods: The authors reviewed the charts of visually immature patients with unilateral structural abnormalities and decreased visual acuity, who presented to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics over a 20-year period, and underwent amblyopia therapy. The results were categorized according to the type of structural abnormality (i.e., partial media opacity, macula lesion, or optic nerve abnormality). Associated factors, including anisometropia, strabismus, age of presentation, and pupillary responses, were analyzed.
Results: Fifty-one percent of the 51 patients in the study achieved a visual acuity of at least 20/80, including 72% of the patients with media opacities, 42% with macular lesions, and 21% with optic nerve anomalies. Strabismus and anisometropia occurred frequently and were not prognostically significant. Relative afferent pupillary defects did not contraindicate good results. Amblyopia recurred in 31% of patients and was successfully treated with resumption of full-time occlusion. Occlusion amblyopia occurred in only one patient and was easily reversed.
Conclusion: The authors recommend a trial of full-time occlusion for patients with all three types of unilateral structural abnormalities. The patients with partial media opacities have a high success rate. Despite lower success rates for the other two groups, good results are possible; no better treatment option exists.