Findings challenge age-based treatment guidelines
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Childrens Center and 48 eye centers across North America report that many children between the ages of 7 and 17 with amblyopia, or "lazy eye," may benefit from treatments usually prescribed for younger children.
"Previously, many eye specialists thought treating amblyopia in older children would be ineffective, but we found that many teenagers responded to treatment," says Michael Repka, M.D., a pediatric ophthalmologist at the Childrens Center and a co-author of the study. "In our opinion, age alone should not determine whether or not to treat." The findings are published in the April issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.
Amblyopia is the most common cause of visual loss in childhood, affecting as many as 3 percent of children in the United States. With onset in infancy or childhood, the condition is marked by poor vision in an otherwise healthy eye and occurs because the brain has learned to favor the other eye. Although the amblyopic eye often looks normal, abnormal visual processing limits the development of a portion of the brain responsible for sight. The most common causes are crossed or wandering eyes, farsightedness or nearsightedness.
Kim Hoppe | EurekAlert!
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