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Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Aug 10;(8):CD006461. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006461.pub3.

Interventions for strabismic amblyopia.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Claremont Wing, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, NE1 4LP.

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Amblyopia is reduced visual acuity in one or both eyes in the absence of any demonstrable abnormality of the visual pathway. It is not immediately resolved by the correction of refractive error. Strabismus develops in approximately 5% to 8% of the general population. The aim of treatment for amblyopia is to obtain the best possible level of vision in the amblyopic eye. Different treatment options were examined within the review.


By reviewing the available evidence we wanted to establish the most effective treatment for strabismic amblyopia. In particular this review aimed to examine the impact of conventional occlusion therapy for strabismic amblyopia and to analyse the role of partial occlusion and optical penalisation for strabismic amblyopia.


We searched CENTRAL (which contains the Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group Trials Register) (The Cochrane Library 2011, Issue 6), MEDLINE (January 1950 to June 2011), EMBASE (January 1980 to June 2011), Latin American and Caribbean Health Sciences Literature Database (LILACS) (January 1982 to June 2011), the metaRegister of Controlled Trials (mRCT) ( and ( There were no date or language restrictions in the electronic searches for trials. The electronic databases were last searched on 1 June 2011.


We included randomised controlled trials (RCTs) for the treatment of strabismic amblyopia including participants of any age.


Two authors working independently extracted and entered data into Review Manager 5 and then independently checked the data for errors.


We included three RCTs in this review. The studies reported mean logMAR visual acuity achieved. Mean difference in visual acuity was calculated. When comparing conventional part-time occlusion (with any necessary glasses), PEDIG 2006 reported that this treatment was more beneficial than glasses alone for strabismic amblyopia; the mean difference between groups was -0.18 LogMAR (statistically significant 95% confidence interval (CI) -0.32 to -0.04). Supplementing occlusion therapy with near activities may produce a better visual outcome compared to non-near activities after four weeks of treatment (PEDIG 2005). The results of the pilot study showed mean difference between groups was -0.17 LogMAR (95% CI -0.53 to 0.19). Results from a larger RCT (PEDIG 2008) are now available, showing that supplementing occlusion therapy with near activities may produce a better visual outcome after eight weeks of treatment; the mean difference between groups was -0.02 LogMAR (95% CI -0.10 to 0.06).


Occlusion, whilst wearing necessary refractive correction, appears to be more effective than refractive correction alone in the treatment of strabismic amblyopia. The benefit of combining near activities with occlusion is unproven. No RCTs were found that assessed the role of either partial occlusion or optical penalisation to refractive correction for strabismic amblyopia.

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