Br J Ophthalmol 84:957-962 doi:10.1136/bjo.84.9.957
  • Original Article
    • Clinical science

Parental non-concordance with occlusion therapy

  1. David Newsham
  1. Division of Orthoptics, Department of Allied Health Professions, University of Liverpool, Thompson Yates Building, Liverpool L69 3GB, UK
  1. Mr D Newshamnewts{at}
  • Accepted 26 April 2000


BACKGROUND/AIMS Non-concordance has often been reported as a major contributor to the failure of occlusion therapy for amblyopia. In other fields of medicine the extent of a patient's understanding in areas of the disease and treatment has been shown to have both a direct and indirect effect on subsequent concordance. The aims of this study were to determine the extent of parental non-concordance, to assess their level of understanding in key areas of amblyopia, occlusion therapy, critical period and prognosis, and to discover the parent's own reasons for failing to concord.

METHODS Parents of children aged 2–7 years receiving a minimum of 1 hour of occlusion for unilateral amblyopia were recruited. Parental concordance was monitored using a diary and their understanding and reasons for non-concordance were assessed by a questionnaire. Concordance was analysed by calculating a concordance index, determining the proportion of non-concordance, and also by classifying the non-concordance on the basis of whether the behaviour was intentional or unintentional and whether the parents were adequately or inadequately informed.

RESULTS Parental non-concordance was defined as failing to occlude less than 80% of the total prescribed time. The median concordance index was 0.75 and the proportion of non-concordant parents was 0.54 (95% CI 0.41 to 0.67) (n = 57). Parental knowledge was poor in areas of the critical period with 23% of parents unaware of an age limit to the treatment. Reasons for non-concordance given by 68% of parents demonstrated poor knowledge.

CONCLUSION A substantial proportion of the non-concordant parents had poor understanding in areas such as the critical period and errors also occurred in implementing the treatment regimen. Increased parental awareness of the rationale and urgency of the treatment, with reinforcement of details of the regimen, would help to reduce non-concordance with occlusion therapy.