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J AAPOS. 1999 Dec;3(6):341-3.

Optical penalization can improve vision after occlusion treatment.

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Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA.



Optical penalization (OP) has previously been shown to successfully maintain vision in amblyopic eyes of older children when patching compliance is poor and when vision decreases once patching is discontinued. This study shows that the final vision in optically penalized eyes is often better than the vision obtained after patching alone.


During the 5-year period from January 1992 to February 1997, 28 children aged between 3.7 and 8.2 years (average age, 6.5+/-1.1 years) were optically penalized for an average of 1.5+/-0.75 years. The maximum length of penalization was 3.3 years, whereas the minimum time was 6 months. There were 21 children with strabismic amblyopia and 7 children with anisometropic amblyopia. All 28 children had worn a patch to achieve their best visual levels and then had shown a loss of best vision when occlusion was stopped. Patching was usually resumed and continued until the previous best vision was obtained; at this point OP was started to "maintain" vision. Eighteen of the 28 children have discontinued penalization and have been followed up an average of 1(1/2) years.


Twenty-six (93%) of the 28 patients showed an increase in best vision from that found at the conclusion of patching, and 2 patients maintained their vision at the initial level. The average visual acuity at the start of penalization was 20/50 (0.42+/-0.11 logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution [log MAR]). Final average visual acuity was 20/27 (0.15+/-0.12 log MAR). The average increase in vision was nearly 3 lines or 0.27+/-0.12 log MAR.


OP alone (without the use of pharmacologic agents such as atropine) not only maintains vision after patching therapy, but also appears to improve the final visual outcome.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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