New research is lending support to the belief that supervised, contrast-balanced binocular treatments may be an option for children with deprivation amblyopia, often developed due to childhood cataracts.

Investigators launched this research with the idea that these patients could benefit from a strategy currently being explored for those with anisometropic and strabismic amblyopia—contrast-balanced binocular therapy. The small unmasked, case‐series looked at 18 children with deprivation amblyopia due to childhood cataracts, as well as 10 with anisometropic or mixed anisometropic and strabismic amblyopia. The children were prescribed one hour a day of treatment over six weeks. While visual improvements were seen in the mixed anisometropic and strabismic amblyopia group, their contrast sensitivity did not change, the report says. However, the deprivation amblyopia group had a smaller, but still statistically significant, improvement in their weaker eyes’ visual acuities, as well a significant improvement in weaker eye contrast sensitivities.

The report suggests that the children with early bilateral deprivation had the more improvement, while children with early unilateral cataract did not improve.

Hamm L, Chen Z, Li J, et al. Contrast-balanced binocular treatment in children with deprivation amblyopia. Clin Exp Optom. 2018;101(4):541-52.