Levodopa/carbidopa in the treatment of amblyopia

J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus. Mar-Apr 2009;46(2):87-90; quiz 91-2. doi: 10.3928/01913913-20090301-07.


Purpose: To evaluate the role of levodopa/carbidopa in the treatment of amblyopia.

Methods: Thirty patients with strabismic amblyopia between the ages of 3 and 12 years were part of this double-blind, randomized study. Patients were divided into two groups. Group A received 0.50 mg + 1.25 mg of levodopa/carbidopa per kilogram body weight three times daily after meals, with a protein rich drink, whereas Group B received placebo. Both groups received full-time conventional occlusion until a visual acuity of 6/6 was achieved or for a maximum of 3 months.

Results: The authors observed more than two lines improvement in visual acuity that was greater in the levodopa group (15 of 15) than in the placebo group (9 of 15) (P < .005). Furthermore, improvement in visual acuity of more than two lines was greater in patients younger than 8 years (100%) than in patients older than 8 years of age (60%) (P = .0026). There was also no significant reversal of the improved visual acuity in up to 6 months of follow-up.

Conclusion: Levodopa/carbidopa improves visual acuity in patients with amblyopia and maintains improved visual acuity, especially in patients younger than 8 years.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amblyopia / drug therapy*
  • Carbidopa / adverse effects
  • Carbidopa / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dopamine Agents / adverse effects
  • Dopamine Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Levodopa / adverse effects
  • Levodopa / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Sensory Deprivation
  • Visual Acuity


  • Dopamine Agents
  • Levodopa
  • Carbidopa