A randomized trial of levodopa as treatment for residual amblyopia in older children

Ophthalmology. 2015 May;122(5):874-81. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2015.01.002. Epub 2015 Feb 9.


Objective: To assess the efficacy and short-term safety of levodopa as adjunctive treatment to patching for amblyopia.

Design: Randomized, placebo-controlled trial.

Participants: One hundred thirty-nine children 7 to 12 years of age with residual amblyopia resulting from strabismus, anisometropia, or both combined (visual acuity [VA], 20/50-20/400) after patching.

Methods: Sixteen weeks of oral levodopa or placebo administered 3 times daily while patching the fellow eye 2 hours daily.

Main outcome measures: Mean change in best-corrected amblyopic-eye VA at 18 weeks.

Results: At 18 weeks, amblyopic-eye VA improved from randomization by an average of 5.2 letters in the levodopa group and by 3.8 letters in the placebo group (difference adjusted for baseline VA, +1.4 letters; 1-sided P=0.06; 2-sided 95% confidence interval, -0.4 to 3.3 letters). No serious adverse effects from levodopa were reported during treatment.

Conclusions: For children 7 to 12 years of age with residual amblyopia after patching therapy, oral levodopa while continuing to patch 2 hours daily does not produce a clinically or statistically meaningful improvement in VA compared with placebo and patching.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Amblyopia / etiology
  • Amblyopia / physiopathology
  • Amblyopia / therapy*
  • Anisometropia / complications
  • Bandages*
  • Child
  • Dopamine Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Levodopa / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Strabismus / complications
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Acuity / physiology


  • Dopamine Agents
  • Levodopa