Is There a Critical Period for Amblyopia Therapy? Results of a Study on Older Anisometropic Amblyopes NC01-NC04
Dr, Taskin Khan,
Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, Hamdard Institute of Medical Sciences and Research,
Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi-110062, India.
Purpose: Amblyopia, a common cause of low vision, is rarely treated in adults. Improvement in vision has been seen beyond the critical period at times. Hence, this study was taken up to study the effect of minimal occlusion therapy (2-4 hours/day) in anisometropic amblyopic patients in the age group of 12-30 years.
Materials and Methods: The study is a prospective, randomized case series of anisometropic amblyopia patients aged 12-30 years who reported in the outpatient department of Hakeem Abdul Hameed Centenary Hospital, New Delhi, from December 2011 to November 2013. Thorough ocular examination and cycloplegic refraction was done to rule out other ocular disease. Anisometropic Amblyopia was diagnosed only after four weeks of spectacle wear. The selected patients were then advised occlusion therapy of 2-4 hours per day of better eye with stress on near visual task. Videogames, computers, mobile phone gaming and colouring in especially designed patterns were used as vision training aids. The outcome measure selected was best corrected visual acuity (BCVA) achieved that remained stable for three consecutive months of occlusion.
Results: Sixty one patients of anisometropic amblyopia were included in the study (32 males and 29 females) aged 12-30 years (mean age 17 years). Mean BCVA at the start of treatment was 20/125 (0.8 log MAR units) and 20/32 (0.2 log MAR units) at the end of the treatment. Thirty three patients (54%) out of 61 had BCVA of 20/20, while 58 patients (95%) had = 20/40 BCVA, 01(1.6%) had 20/50 and 02 (3.27%) had 20/80 BCVA at the end of therapy. The results were statistically significant (p- value <0.0001) with a 95% confidence interval.
Conclusion: This study clearly proves that there is no critical period for the treatment in older (12-30 years) anisometropic amblyope. Even 2-4 hours per day of occlusion of better eye with vision training thorough near visual task of amblyopic eye is effective. However, counseling and patient compliance is important for successful outcome of therapy.