Below is a great video on amblyopia and how best to treat it:

Patching is often the worst treatment for amblyopia for a number of reasons.  Kids naturally hate to patch.  Patching covers the child’s good eye, which makes it difficult to for the child to see.  When kids wear a patch for 7 or 8 hours a day, as some doctors recommend, the effect can be profoundly disruptive and unpleasant for the child.  Patching can also make a child a target for bullying, it can make them feel different and affect their self esteem.

Patching is also not as effective as treatment approaches like vision therapy.  The reason is that patching mistakenly assumes that amblyopia is a problem with one eye.  In actual fact, amblyopia as a problem of both eyes working together and it must be approached as such using effective binocular treatments like vision therapy. This point was made in a recent study published in the September 2010 issue of the journal Optometry & Vision Science:

amblyopia is an intrinsically binocular problem and not the monocular problem on which current patching treatment is predicated. Thought of in this way, the binocular problem involving suppression should be tackled at the very outset if one is to achieve a good binocular outcome as opposed to hoping binocular vision will be regained simply as a consequence of acuity recovery in the amblyopic eye, which is the current approach and which is often not found to be the case.

Fortunately today there are effective alternatives to patching.  One is an eye drop called atropine that can be placed in the eye instead of having a patch cover that eye.  Another alternative is vision therapy, which is rehabilitation for the eye and the brain, works on the visual system on the same principles as related treatment approaches like occupational therapy (which works on the motor system) and speech therapy (which works on the speech-language system).

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