For over 20 years some eye doctors, like us, have used drops or ointment to substitute for patching the good eye in the treatment of amblyopia. Patching is uncomfortable and cosmetically conspicuous leaking to poor cooperation among some children.
The drops, which may be used in lieu of patching or to augment patching, eliminate the ability of the eye to focus.
A recent federally funded, long term, multi-centered study was carried out
to compare patching to drops. Drops were found to be as effective as patching
and clearly were easier to do. The kids and parents were happier. The child
couldn't remove the drops like they do with patches and it was cosmetically
acceptable. We have been using this procedure for years and agree with the
study. We generally begin with patching but move to drops quickly. The drops/ointment
called atropine can have some side effects which are listed below (call if
your child experiences any the ones in bold text.)
If your child is being treated with atropine and you are prescribed any other medication let both your pediatrician and pharmacist know.
Apply approximately a 1/4 inch ribbon of the ointment in the better seeing eye, preferably along the eye lid margin. Reduction of systemic effects can be accomplished by compressing the lacrimal sac located between the inner portion of the eye and the nose for a couple of minutes. We usually use the ointment at night twice a week. Sunglasses are often necessary and special eye glasses.
Not really, there are graded semi transparent patches that we use. They are easily re-movable and allow us to vary the blur as the vision improves. They are cosmetically very acceptable. They have the ability to blur the lazy eye in decrements, thus, they may be beneficial in titrating vision.