Amblyopia is the most common form of visual disability in children. Successful treatment by patching depends on compliance, but evidence of factors affecting compliance is limited and contradictory. Because there is a well established relationship between social deprivation and access to health care, we hypothesized that social deprivation might be associated with noncompliance. Data from a historical cohort of 961 children from seven English orthoptic clinics starting treatment for amblyopia in 1983 were used to study factors affecting compliance with amblyopia treatment. Children were classified as noncompliant if they failed to attend all appointments prescribed during the first year of treatment. There was a significant difference in compliance between centers (P = .0001). Overall, children with anisometropic amblyopia were more compliant than those with strabismus but this varied significantly between centers. A relationship between social deprivation and compliance was also found (P = .00001). Only 41% of children from the most deprived wards were compliant compared with 61% in the least deprived wards. Compliance was not found to be related to age at starting treatment.