A randomized trial of prescribed patching regimens for treatment of severe amblyopia in children

Ophthalmology. 2003 Nov;110(11):2075-87. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2003.08.001.


Objective: To compare full-time patching (all hours or all but 1 hour per day) to 6 hours of patching per day, as prescribed treatments for severe amblyopia in children younger than 7 years.

Design: Prospective, randomized multicenter clinical trial (32 sites).

Participants: One hundred seventy-five children younger than 7 years with amblyopia in the range of 20/100 to 20/400.

Intervention: Randomization either to full-time patching or to 6 hours of patching per day, each combined with at least 1 hour of near-visual activities during patching.

Main outcome measure: Visual acuity in the amblyopic eye after 4 months.

Results: Visual acuity in the amblyopic eye improved a similar amount in both groups. The improvement in the amblyopic eye acuity from baseline to 4 months averaged 4.8 lines in the 6-hour group and 4.7 lines in the full-time group (P = 0.45).

Conclusion: Six hours of prescribed daily patching produces an improvement in visual acuity that is of similar magnitude to the improvement produced by prescribed full-time patching in treating severe amblyopia in children 3 to less than 7 years of age.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amblyopia / physiopathology
  • Amblyopia / therapy*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Sensory Deprivation*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Acuity / physiology