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Indian J Ophthalmol. 2019 Sep;67(9):1392-1399. doi: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_11_19.

Simplified updates on the pathophysiology and recent developments in the treatment of amblyopia: A review.

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Kamala Nethralaya Eye Clinic and Surgical Centre, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India.
National Institute of Ophthalmology, Maharashtra, India.


Amblyopia is the most common cause of monocular visual impairment affecting 2-5% of the general population. Amblyopia is a developmental cortical disorder of the visual pathway essentially due to abnormal visual stimulus, reaching the binocular cortical cells, which may be multivariate. Ganglion cells are of two types: parvocellular (P cells) and magnocellular (M cells); they are the first step where the light energy is converted in to neural impulse. P cells are involved in fine visual acuity, fine stereopsis, and color vision and M cells are involved in gross stereopsis and movement recognition. Strabismus, refractive error, cataract, and ptosis, occurring during critical period are highly amblyogenic. The critical period extends from birth to 7--8 years. The earlier the clinically significant refractive error and strabismus are detected and treated, the greater the likelihood of preventing amblyopia. Treatment for amblyopia in children includes: optical correction of significant refractive errors, patching, pharmacological treatment, and alternative therapies which include: vision therapy, binocular therapy, and liquid crystal display eyeglasses are newer treatment modalities for amblyopia. Age of starting the treatment is not predictive of outcome, instituting treatment on detection and early detection plays a role in achieving better outcomes. This review aims to give a simplified update on amblyopia, which will be of use to a clinician, in understanding the pathophysiology of the complex condition. We also share the cortical aspects of amblyopia and give recent developments in the treatment of amblyopia.


Amblyopia; atropine penalization; optical correction; patching; vision therapy

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