Treatment improved the vision of many of the 507 older children with amblyopia studied at 49 eye centers. Previously, eye care professionals often thought that treating amblyopia in older children would be of little benefit. The study results, funded by the National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), appear in the April issue of Archives of Ophthalmology.
Doctors can now feel confident that traditional treatments for amblyopia will work for many older children, said Paul A. Sieving, M.D., Ph.D., director of the NEI. This is important because it is estimated that as many as three percent of children in the United States have some degree of vision impairment due to amblyopia. Many of these children do not receive treatment while they are young, he said.
Amblyopia is a leading cause of vision impairment in children and usually begins in infancy or childhood. It is a condition resulting in poor vision in an otherwise healthy eye due to unequal or abnormal visual input while the brain is developing in infancy and childhood. The most common causes of amblyopia are crossed or wandering eye (strabismus) or significant differences between the eyes in refractive error, such as, astigmatism, farsightedness, or nearsightedness.
For background information regarding amblyopia, please visit www.nei.nih.gov/ats3/background.asp.
A list of current study centers is available online at www.nei.nih.gov/ats3/centers.asp.
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