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July 2011

Acupuncture and Amblyopia

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Cayuga Medical Center, Ithaca, New York.

Arch Ophthalmol. 2011;129(7):962-963. doi:10.1001/archophthalmol.2011.153

Zhao and colleagues' description of acupuncture as a new method for treating amblyopia adds to prior studies of diverse therapies.1 They include, among others, an abundance of occlusion protocols ranging from a few hours per day to complete eyelid suturing, neuroadaptation, periauricular acupuncture, vision training, levodopa-carbidopa, colored lenses, Bangerter filters, supervised near work, playing computer games, perceptual learning, and neurologic organization training. These studies, in common with this latest addition, are characterized by (1) acuity outcomes that are similar to patching therapy and (2) a lack of untreated controls. Most of these are regarded by the American Academy of Ophthalmology Committee on Children with Disabilities as poorly controlled studies that rely on anecdotal information. “Their reported benefits can be explained by the traditional educational remedial techniques with which they are usually combined.”2 Supporting this view is a Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group's finding that the acuity of both the amblyopic and fellow eyes substantially improved with increasing age prior to treatment (Table 3).3

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