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The timing of patching treatment and a child’s wellbeing
  1. C Williams1,
  2. J Horwood2,
  3. K Northstone1,
  4. D Herrick1,
  5. A Waylen3,
  6. D Wolke4,
  7. ALSPAC Study Group
  1. 1Department of Community Based Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  2. 2Department of Social Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  3. 3University of Warwick, UK
  4. 4Jacobs Foundation, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to: Cathy Williams Department of Community Based Medicine, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK; cathy.williams{at}

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Bullying and eye patching

The psychological impact that patching treatment for amblyopia might have on children and their families was highlighted in an influential review of amblyopia screening.1 A recent randomised trial investigating the efficacy of patching for amblyopia has reported that 4 year old and 5 year old children were significantly more upset by receiving patching and glasses than by receiving glasses only, as were the parents of the 4 year olds undergoing treatment, suggesting that patching treatment can be associated with some short term distress for the child and the family.2 However, most children in the study were reported as being happy and had normal behavioural scores. We have recently reported results from a birth cohort study suggesting that longer term psychosocial sequelae may be associated with patching treatment (the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, ALSPAC3). A history of patching treatment and wearing glasses were both independent risk factors for children reporting that they had been bullied in the past at age 8.4 Repeated bullying victimisation is consistently associated with physical and emotional problems for the victims and may have long term adverse consequences.5,

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  • Sponsors: Support for vision data was specifically provided by the Medical Research Council, the South West Regional Health Authority, and the National Eye Research Centre.

  • Competing interests: None declared.

  • Ethical approval: The ALSPAC Study has ethical approval from the three local ethics committees and the ALSPAC Law and Ethics Committee.