Amblyopia: prevalence, natural history, functional effects and treatment

Webber, Ann L. & Wood, Joanne M. (2005) Amblyopia: prevalence, natural history, functional effects and treatment. Clinical and Experimental Optometry, 88(6), pp. 365-375.

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Amblyopia, defined as poor vision due to abnormal visual experience early in life, affects approximately three per cent of the population and carries a projected lifetime risk of visual loss of at least 1.2 per cent. The presence of amblyopia or its risk factors, mainly strabismus or refractive error, have been primary conditions targeted in childhood vision screenings. Continued support for such screenings requires evidence-based understanding of the prevalence and natural history of amblyopia and its predisposing conditions, and proof that treatment is effective in the long term with minimal negative impact on the patient and family. This review summarises recent research relevant to the clinical understanding of amblyopia, including prevalence data, risk factors, the functional impact of amblyopia and optimum treatment regimes and their justification from a vision and life skills perspective. Collectively, these studies indicate that treatment for amblyopia is effective in reducing the overall prevalence and severity of visual loss from amblyopia. Correction of refractive error alone has been shown to significantly reduce amblyopia and less frequent occlusion can be just as effective as more extensive occlusion. Occlusion or penalisation in amblyopia treatment can create negative changes in behaviour in children and impact on family life, and these factors should be considered in prescribing treatment, particularly because of their influence on compliance. Ongoing treatment trials are being undertaken to determine both the maximum age at which treatment of amblyopia can still be effective and the importance of near activities during occlusion. This review highlights the expansion of current knowledge regarding amblyopia and its treatment to help clinicians provide the best level of care for their amblyopic patients that current knowledge allows.

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ID Code: 11934
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: The contents of this journal from 1998 to 2005 can be freely accessed online via the journal's web page (see Official URL link).
Additional URLs:
Keywords: amblyopia, anisometropia, compliance, disability, natural history, prevalence, strabismus, treatment, OAVJ
ISSN: 0816-4622
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > OPTOMETRY AND OPHTHALMOLOGY (111300)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > OPTOMETRY AND OPHTHALMOLOGY (111300) > Vision Science (111303)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Health Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2005 Optometrists Association Australia
Deposited On: 15 Jan 2008 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 23:15

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