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The effect of recent amblyopia research on current practice in the UK
  1. D Newsham
  1. Correspondence to Dr David Newsham, School of Health Sciences, University of Liverpool, Thompson Yates Building, Liverpool L69 3GB, UK; d.newsham{at}


Background/aims Several studies have recently provided insights into how amblyopia may be most effectively managed. Despite the new evidence, a US study reported that a recent randomised controlled trial had made little influence on clinical practice. The aims of this research are to assess current practice of amblyopia management in the UK and to determine the comparability with the evidence-based recommendations.

Methods A questionnaire was constructed to assess current amblyopia management practice, particularly in relation to areas investigated by recent research and emailed to every head orthoptist within the UK.

Results There was a great deal of variability in the amount of occlusion that was prescribed for moderate and severe amblyopia. Sixty per cent of clinicians indicated that the maximum they would prescribe was in excess of the 6 h recommended by research. Atropine was rarely recommended as a first-line treatment, with occlusion generally being considered to be more effective. Despite recommendations regarding education as a means of reducing non-compliance, only 39% of clinicians always gave written information, although various other methods of enhancing compliance were used. A period of refractive adaptation was allowed by most clinicians but often far less than recommended.

Conclusion The uptake of recent research evidence into clinical practice is sporadic and incomplete with one-third of respondents indicating that following the studies, they had made no changes whatsoever to their practice. This is similar to other areas of medicine; the reasons are likely to be varied, and is an area that would benefit from greater attention.

  • Amblyopia
  • occlusion
  • atropine
  • compliance
  • vision
  • treatment other

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Local Ethics Committee, Alder Hey Hospital, Liverpool, UK.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.