Vision Therapy combined with Spectacles and Intermittent Patching is better than Spectacles and patching alone

This is one of the key conclusions from the 2022 study published in BMC Ophthalmology: Efficacy of Vision Therapy for Unilateral Refractive Amblyopia in Children Aged 7–10 Years.

The inclusion of Optometric Vision therapy treatment results not only in greater vision gain but also in a shorter duration of treatment under the mechanism of binocular vision and perceptual learning.

It is nearly 20 years ago that the first PEDIG (Pediatric Eye Disease Investigator Group) studies were published that showed there is no critical period for amblyopia intervention ending at around age 7; neuroplasticity of the brain allows gains to be made beyond age 7 and at least until 17 years of age.  

Behavioural Optometrists have long held that Vision Therapy is an important support to spectacles in refractive amblyopia, and this latest study supports that idea.

This research is important because it helps move us away from the passive and poor patient acceptance of patching as the primary intervention for amblyopia.

Patching is a negative and disruptive treatment; Vision Therapy is a positive and fusional treatment.

It enhances the clinical outcome without disrupting visual function is therefore encouraging news for both children and parents.

The author emphasis binocular integration in amblyopia and the strategy of perceptual learning in therapeutic interventions.


Hsieh YC, Liao WL, Tsai YY, et al. Efficacy of vision therapy for unilateral refractive amblyopia in children aged 7–10 years. BMC Ophthalmol. 2022;22(1):44.