Approaches for the detection and treatment of amblyopia have improved in the past 3 decades, but there is still room for improvement, according to a presenter at the virtual American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting.
“New and improved strategies for reaching and treating children deserve development, advocacy and funding,” Michael X. Repka. Worldwide, amblyopia has a prevalence of about 2.4%. In the U.S., where about 50 million children are younger than 12 years old, the prevalence in preschool-aged children is about 2%, Repka said.
Refractive error is the most common cause of amblyopia, attributed to about 70% of cases in population-based studies; in clinic-based studies, strabismus is the most common cause of the condition, Repka said.
Since the Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group was founded 23 years ago with funding from the National Eye Institute, the group has conducted more than 20 trials in amblyopia treatment. Observations gleaned from those trials include that eyeglasses are a highly effective treatment for refractive and strabismic amblyopia and that lesser treatment intensity than has been traditionally prescribed works for many children, Repka said. When vision stops improving with glasses, patching provides a clinically and statistically significant boost, he said.
“Somewhat surprisingly, adolescent children 8 to 12 years of age do improve significantly with treatment, something that a few decades ago we would not have dared to offer because we would have believed it did not work,” Repka said.
Source: Presented at: American Academy of Ophthalmology annual meeting; Nov. 13-15, 2020 (virtual meeting). Healio