Forty-four children aged 2-9 years with strabismic and anisometropic amblyopia were prospectively followed up during amblyopia treatment. The efficacy of optimised treatment in terms of number of cured children, time to achieve cure, and rate of initial improvement of visual acuity was evaluated in relation to age at start of treatment, type and initial degree of amblyopia, and adherence to treatment regimen. Compliance with treatment was the most critical factor predicting a successful outcome. Among the compliant children 35 out of 36 were cured (visual acuity difference between amblyopic and non-amblyopic eyes not more than one line) within five months regardless of age, treatment regimen, and type or initial degree of amblyopia as compared with none in the group with low compliance. Most of these compliant children were cured within three months, with shorter treatment times on average for the younger children. The initial improvement of visual acuity was also faster at 2 years than at 4 years of age. Anisometropes with moderate amblyopia at the start of treatment were over-represented in the group with low compliance. We conclude that early diagnosis of strabismus in combination with general population screening at the age of 4 to detect amblyopia caused by anisometropia or microstrabismus seems to be efficacious for the cure of most cases. The major factor in treatment failure was found to be inadequate adherence to the treatment regimen.
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