‘It’s too late’. Is it really? Considerations for amblyopia treatment in older children

Marianne E. F. Piano, Anita J. Simmers

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Abstract

In recent years, media coverage has demonstrated instances in which families of children aged 7 and older, newly diagnosed with strabismic and/or anisometropic amblyopia through community eyecare services, were told it was ‘too late’ for their child to effectively respond to conventional amblyopia treatment (occlusion or atropine penalisation). Formal guidance pertaining to binocular vision anomalies from eyecare professional bodies does not specifically make reference to a child’s age, beyond stating the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of strabismus/amblyopia. However, there have been many changes in the way we view the recovery period for amblyopia, and it is well demonstrated both within literature and clinical practice that conventional treatment can improve amblyopic eye visual acuity in children beyond the age of 7¿years. The occurrence of these media described cases within the community eyecare sphere would suggest it is worthwhile revisiting the literature on the subject of amblyopia treatment in older children (aged 7+¿years), to address misconceptions and place in the spotlight current considerations facing clinicians when treating newly diagnosed amblyopia within this age group. This perspective review provides an evidence-based update covering the various considerations associated with treatment of amblyopia in older children, along with recent amblyopia treatment advances that could have an impact on treatment prospects for this patient group. Considerations include the risks, benefits and efficacy of treating newly diagnosed amblyopia in older children, monitoring density of suppression to mitigate intractable diplopia risk, and recent findings regarding binocular treatments for amblyopia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Ophthalmology
Volume11
Early online date19 Jun 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • amblyopia
  • perceptual learning
  • atropine penalisation
  • density of suppression
  • occlusion therapy
  • older children

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