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An Evaluation Of Treatment Of Amblyopia In Children 7 To <18 years old

Purpose | Background | Description | Patient Eligibility | Recruitment Status | Current Status | Results | Publications | Resource Centers | NEI Representative



Most eye care practitioners believe that there is an age beyond which attempting to treat amblyopia is futile. It is generally held that the response to treatment is best when it is instituted at an early age and is poor when attempted after eight years of age. There has not been a prospective clinical trial conducted with appropriate rigor that has evaluated the effect of treatment of amblyopia in children aged 7 years or older. Although available data on the efficacy of amblyopia treatment of older children are limited, there is reason to believe from clinical observations and published case series that treatment could have benefit. In a pilot study of patients 10 to <18 years old with amblyopia, we found that 37 percent of 52 patients showed improvement in the amblyopic eye acuity of 2 or more lines after treatment with part-time patching. however, without a concurrent randomized control group, the results are not conclusive. although the literature and our pilot study provide support that amblyopia can be improved with treatment, neither the response rate to treatment nor the recidivism rate after cessation of treatment can be well defined. despite the evidence that amblyopia therapy can be effective in older children, many clinicians do not attempt treatment under the assumption that it will be unsuccessful. therefore, a clinical trial is needed to provide the requisite data to establish clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of amblyopia in older children. in addition to its importance for patient management, the trial's results will meet the demand for cost efffectiveness by health maintenance organizations, large employers, and insurers.


The study is a randomized trial comparing patients treated with spectacles only (Control Group) to patients undergoing active treatment (patching, near activities while patching, and atropine for children under the age of 13) in addition to spectacles (Active Treatment Group). It will enroll a minimum of 90 patients in each of the age groups of 7 to <9, 9 to <11, 11 to <13, and 13 to <18 years old. patients have follow up visits every 6 weeks (up to a maximum of 24 weeks) until they are classified as either responders or nonresponders based on amblyopic eye visual acuity.

At the end of the randomized trial:

Once there is no further improvement in visual acuity:

Patient Eligibility

Patients must be aged 7 to <18 years and have amblyopia associated with strabismus, anisometropia, or both. visual acuity in the amblyopic eye must be 20/40 to 20/400 inclusive and visual acuity in the sound eye must be 20/25 or better. patients must not have received amblyopia treatment (other than spectacles) in the past month or more than one month of amblyopia treatment in the last 6 months.

Patient Recruitment Status

Completed. Recruitment began in October 2002 and closed January 2004 after 507 patients were randomized.

Current Status of Study

Ongoing. Follow up of patients will continue through August 2005.





Resource Centers

Jonathan M. Holmes, M.D.
Mayo Clinic
Department of Ophthalmology W7
200 First Street Southwest
Rochester, MN 55905
Telephone: (507) 284-3760
Fax: (507) 284-8566

Michael X. Repka, M.D.
Wilmer Eye Institute
233 N. Wolfe Street
Baltimore, MD 21287-9028
Telephone: (410) 955-8314
Fax: (410) 955-0809

Data Coordinating Center
Roy W. Beck, Ph.D.
Pamela S. Moke, M.S.P.H.
Raymond T. Kraker, M.S.P.H.
Heidi A. Gillespie
Alisha N. Lawson
Nicole M. Boyle
Julie A. Gillett
Shelly T. Mares
Brian B. Dale
Jaeb Center for Health Research
3010 E. 138th Avenue, Suite 9
Tampa, FL 33613
Telephone: (813) 975-8690
Fax: (813) 975-8761

NEI Representative

Donald F. Everett, M.A.
National Eye Institute
6120 Executive Boulevard, MSC 7164
Executive Plaza South, Suite 350
Bethesda, MD 20892-7164
Telephone: (301) 496-5983
Fax: (301) 402-0528

Last Updated: 3/15/2004

Department of Health and Human Services NIH, the National Institutes of Health