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Lazy eye may be treatable in just two hours a day

The long-standing treatment for young children with amblyopia -- also known as lazy eye or dull eye -- is to have them wear a patch over the good or dominant eye, forcing the misaligned eye to work harder and eventually correct itself. The unanswered question has been how long the patch must be worn each day. The answer seems to be that two hours a day is as good as six.

In a study involving 35 ophthalmology centers across the country, 189 children ages 3 to 7 with moderate amblyopia were assigned to either a two-hour or six-hour group.

After four months, children in both groups had improved similarly. Seventy-nine percent of those in the two-hour group and 76% in the six-hour group could read at least two more lines in the standard eye chart than they could read before the treatment.

This study was published in the May issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

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-- Dianne Partie Lange


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