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Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2004 Sep;45(9):3048-54.

Treatment dose-response in amblyopia therapy: the Monitored Occlusion Treatment of Amblyopia Study (MOTAS).

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Department of Visual Neuroscience, Imperial College London, United Kingdom.



Amblyopia is the commonest visual disorder of childhood. Yet the contributions of the two principal treatments (spectacle wear and occlusion) to outcome are unknown. This study was undertaken to investigate the dose-response relationship of amblyopia therapy.


The study comprised three distinct phases: baseline, in which repeat measures of visual function were undertaken to confirm the initial visual deficit; refractive adaptation: an 18-week period of spectacle wear with six weekly measurements of logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution (logMAR) visual acuity; occlusion: in which participants were prescribed 6 hours of "patching" per day. In the latter phase, occlusion was objectively monitored and logMAR visual acuity recorded at 2-week intervals until any observed gains had ceased.


Data were obtained from 94 participants (mean age, 5.1 +/- 1.4 years) with amblyopia associated with strabismus (n = 34), anisometropia (n = 23), and both anisometropia and strabismus (n = 37). Eighty-six underwent refractive adaptation. Average concordance with patching was 48%. The relationship between logMAR visual acuity gain and total occlusion dose was monotonic and linear. Increasing dose rate beyond 2 h/d hastened the response but did not improve outcome. More than 80% of the improvement during occlusion occurred within 6 weeks. Treatment outcome was significantly better for children younger than 4 years (n = 17) than in those older than 6 years (n = 24; P = 0.0014).


Continuous objective monitoring of the amount of patching therapy received has provided insight into the dose-response relationship of occlusion therapy for amblyopia. Patching is most effective within the first few weeks of treatment, even for those in receipt of a relatively small dose. Further studies are needed to elucidate the neural basis for the dose-response functions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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