Occlusion Versus Pharmacologic Therapy for Moderate Amblyopia

2014-08-27 04:00:15 | BioPortfolio


- To determine whether the success rate with drug treatment (atropine) of amblyopia due to strabismus or anisometropia in patients less than 7 years old is equivalent to the success rate with occlusion (patching) therapy

- To develop more precise estimates of the success rates of amblyopia treatment

- To identify factors that may be associated with successful treatment of amblyopia

- To collect data on the course of treated amblyopia to provide more precise estimates of treatment effects than are now available

Extended Follow up of Study Patients

- Primary: To determine the long-term visual acuity outcome at age 10 years and at age 15 years in patients diagnosed with amblyopia before age 7 years.

- Secondary: To determine whether the long-term visual acuity outcome at age 10 years and at age 15 years differs between patients who received patching followed by best clinical care and patients who received atropine followed by best clinical care


Amblyopia, or lazy eye, is the most common cause of visual impairment in children and often persists in adulthood. It is reported to be the leading cause of vision loss in one eye in the 20-70 year old age group, with a prevalence of 1-4 percent in various studies, indicating that both improved means of detection and treatment are needed.

Most of the available data on the natural history of amblyopia and success rates of its treatment with either patching or drug therapy are retrospective and uncontrolled. Despite the common occurrence of amblyopia, there is little quality data on treatment of this condition. Thus, there is much to be learned about the course of treated amblyopia, to provide more precise estimates of success rates and to identify factors that may be associated with successful and unsuccessful treatment.

Amblyopia, when diagnosed in children, is usually treated with occlusion (patching) of the sound eye. Occlusion therapy is subject to problems of compliance, due to the child's dislike of wearing a patch for visual, skin irritation, and social/psychological reasons. There is evidence that compliance may be one of, if not, the most important determinant of success of amblyopia therapy.

An alternative treatment, drug therapy with a cycloplegic drug (atropine) that dilates the pupils and blurs the image seen by the sound eye, has been known for almost a century. This method has been widely used for the management of occlusion treatment failures and for maintenance therapy. However, it has seen little use as a primary treatment for amblyopia. Clinical experience has found that it has a high acceptability to patients and parents, and hence high compliance. In addition to its acceptability, pharmacologic therapy has the known advantage over occlusion of providing a wider visual field with both eyes, which may have safety and other functional implications. There is also clinical and laboratory evidence suggesting that drug therapy may maintain and improve the ability to see with both eyes (binocularity).

Available data suggest that the success rate with drug therapy is as good as, if not better than, the success rate with occlusion therapy for mild to moderate degrees of amblyopia. If this is true, for many children with amblyopia, drug therapy may be the preferred initial therapy since it appears to be more readily accepted by the children and parents. Despite data to support the use of drug therapy as a primary therapy for amblyopia, it has gained only limited use among pediatric ophthalmologists. A definitive study comparing the outcomes from occlusion therapy and drug therapy is justified in order to determine if new practice guidelines for treatment of amblyopia are needed.

Regardless of whether the trial determines that one therapeutic approach is better than the other, the data that are collected will provide valuable information about the course of amblyopia treatment that is not presently available. The study also is expected to provide data that will help to determine whether factors such as age, refractive status, cause of amblyopia, or fixation pattern should be considered in determining which procedure is best for a given patient.

Extended Follow-up of Study Patients

The extended follow up study consists of annual visits prior to age 10, followed by a visit at age 10 years and a visit at age 15 years. There is no amblyopia treatment that is required during the extended follow up period.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Control: Uncontrolled, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Treatment




Atropine, Eye Patch


Wilmer Eye Institute
United States


Active, not recruiting


Jaeb Center for Health Research

Results (where available)

View Results


Published on BioPortfolio: 2014-08-27T04:00:15-0400

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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

A nonspecific term referring to impaired vision. Major subcategories include stimulus deprivation-induced amblyopia and toxic amblyopia. Stimulus deprivation-induced amblyopia is a developmental disorder of the visual cortex. A discrepancy between visual information received by the visual cortex from each eye results in abnormal cortical development. STRABISMUS and REFRACTIVE ERRORS may cause this condition. Toxic amblyopia is a disorder of the OPTIC NERVE which is associated with ALCOHOLISM, tobacco SMOKING, and other toxins and as an adverse effect of the use of some medications.

An electrophysiologic technique for studying cells, cell membranes, and occasionally isolated organelles. All patch-clamp methods rely on a very high-resistance seal between a micropipette and a membrane; the seal is usually attained by gentle suction. The four most common variants include on-cell patch, inside-out patch, outside-out patch, and whole-cell clamp. Patch-clamp methods are commonly used to voltage clamp, that is control the voltage across the membrane and measure current flow, but current-clamp methods, in which the current is controlled and the voltage is measured, are also used.

A medicated adhesive patch placed on the skin to deliver a specific dose of medication into the bloodstream.

Skin tests in which the sensitizer is applied to a patch of cotton cloth or gauze held in place for approximately 48-72 hours. It is used for the elicitation of a contact hypersensitivity reaction.

Analogs and derivatives of atropine.

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