Eye patches have long been a standard treatment for amblyopia, or lazy eye. But children and parents alike have a tough time following through. Even if the child is initially enthusiastic about looking like a pirate, the patch ordeal can soon get old. It did in my house.
I was pleased to see a study published in the March 2002 issue of Archives of Ophthalmology that tested children with amblyopia at 47 different clinical sites. Half received patching (6 hours a day for 6 months); the other half were treated with eye drops (one drop of atropine a day for 6 months).
Treatment was successful (at least 3 lines of vision improvement, or vision brought to at least 20/30) in 79% of the patched kids and 74% of those receiving drops. Atropine drops appear to be a great treatment choice for some families.