Compliance of amblyopic patients with occlusion therapy: A pilot study

Oman J Ophthalmol. 2009 May;2(2):67-72. doi: 10.4103/0974-620X.53035.


Background: Increasing evidence shows that good compliance with occlusion therapy is paramount for successful amblyopia therapy.

Purpose: To study the degree of compliance and explore factors affecting compliance in patients undergoing occlusion therapy for amblyopia in our practice.

Design: Nonrandomized clinical intervention study.

Materials and methods: A total of 31 families with a child (aged 2-12 years), undergoing unilateral amblyopia treatment at the pediatric ophthalmology clinic of Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, Oman, were recruited for this one month study. Parents were interviewed and completed a closed-ended questionnaire. Clinical data including, visual acuity, refraction, diagnosis and treatment, for each patient was collected from the hospital chart and was entered in a data collection sheet. Compliance with occlusion therapy was assessed by self-report accounts of parents and was graded into good, partial, or poor. Association between various factors and degree of compliance was studied using logistic regression modeling.

Results: Only 14 (45%) patients showed good compliance to occlusion therapy. 17 (55%) patients were noncompliant. Improvement in visual acuity strongly correlated with compliance to patching (P = 0.008). Other variables that were studied included, age at onset of therapy; gender; degree of amblyopia; type of amblyopia; use of glasses; and compliance with glasses. These did not emerge as significant predictors of compliance. All but one family with poor compliance stated that the main challenge in following the recommendation to patch for requisite hours was in getting their child to cooperate. Only in one instance, the family cited nonavailability of patches as the main hindrance to compliance. 10/31 (32%) families expressed a desire for more information and 18/31 (58%) parents did not understand that amblyopia meant decreased vision.

Conclusion: Poor compliance is a barrier to successful amblyopia therapy in our practice. Improvement in visual acuity is associated with better compliance with patching. Parents find it difficult to comprehend and retain verbal explanations of various components regarding occlusion therapy for amblyopia. Future study with a larger sample of patients is recommended to investigate the factors affecting compliance with amblyopia therapy and determine predictors for poor compliance.

Keywords: Amblyopia; compliance; occlusion therapy; self-reported efficacy.