Patching in Amblyopia

Here’s an article on patching in amblyopia:

Patching has long been used the treatment of ‘lazy eye’ (a term I rather dislike), otherwise known more clinically as ‘amblyopia’. Patching is and has been frequently misused and perhaps even abused with patients of all ages, but perhaps more so with children. Who in their right mind wants to wear a patch to school? With this in mind, it’s important to implement something so potentially traumatizing only if it bears some clinical value.

A mentor of mine once said that patching for amblyopia was tantamount to child abuse, and I can see his point. The way patching is most often done is to simply apply the patch over the ‘good’ eye to force the weaker eye to take up the slack and simply improve. There are some important problems with this approach, and studies show that periodic patching is as effective as longer term patching, and that furthermore patching can be further limited if done in a directed therapeutic environment.

Patching and alternating occlusion remain effective means of improving soft vision in amblyopia, but used alone or indiscriminately they can lead to more harm than good.

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