Most parents, if not all, who have a child diagnosed with amblyopia are facing or have been facing an important issue when it comes to amblyopia treatment. In the professional terminology, it is referred to as ‘compliance’ of ‘adherence’ to the prescribed treatment.
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Compliance and Vision Therapy
In the context of vision therapy, compliance refers to the extent to which a patient follows the prescribed treatment plan and actively engages in the recommended exercises and activities. What is more, compliance is crucial for the success of vision therapy.
Why does Compliance Matter in Vision Therapy?
Strengthening Neural Pathways
Compliance is important because vision therapy relies on brain plasticity—the brain’s ability to reorganize and develop new neural connections. These pathways enable the brain to process information from both eyes effectively, promoting better coordination and depth perception.
Consistency Leads to Progress
Lazy eye treatment requires regular and consistent practice to stimulate the weaker eye and strengthen the visual connections. Consistency and regular practice enable the brain to adapt and improve visual skills over time. Lack of compliance or inconsistent participation may impede progress or delay desired outcomes.
Non-compliance increases the risk of relapse or incomplete recovery. When patients do not adhere to the treatment plan, the weaker eye may regress, leading to a return of the symptoms. Consistent treatment reinforces the progress achieved and reduces the likelihood of relapse.
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Early Intervention Benefits
Lazy eye treatment is most effective when initiated at an early age. Children’s visual systems are still developing, making them more responsive to treatment. Compliance with early intervention maximizes the potential for a successful outcome and can significantly improve long-term visual function.
Adherence to Treatment
Think of it as if your kid was suffering from strep throat for instance. What would you do in this case? Normally, your doctor would prescribe an antibiotic which they would take every 12 hours for the next 7 days or so. And what you would do is comply completely with the prescribed treatment. You would probably not even think of skipping a dose just for no reason. You would be afraid too much that the infection would spread to the middle ear or that an abscess would form in the throat.
Things are no different when it comes to adherence to the prescribed treatment in case of amblyopia. Or at least they should not be. Conversely, this is rarely the case.
Compliance is One of the Most Challenging Parts of Vision Therapy
What is more, compliance can sometimes be challenging, especially for children or individuals with busy schedules. Indeed, many studies have shown that compliance to physicians’ prescribed treatment in the case of amblyopia rarely exceeds 50%. Possibly, it has got to do with the fact that the majority of those kids function normally and so they, along with their parents, do not feel the need to comply 100% with the prescribed therapy.
Reasons for Poor Compliance
The reasons for poor compliance also include:
- Uncertainty about the benefits of treatment,
- the child’s distress with the therapy,
- social aspects of an eyepatch, and
- the weak parental understanding of the condition.
Physicians, as well as eye care providers, should therefore raise awareness of amblyopia in general and particularly the importance of compliance to its treatment.
Lazy Eye Treatment Options
While proper refractive correction is crucial in amblyopia treatment, and kids should strictly adhere to the use of corrective spectacles prescribed by physicians, the duration of occlusion (patching) that gives the best results is less straightforward.
Newer studies show that similar final outcomes can be achieved with less patching than previously thought and the dose-response relationship seems to plateau around 4 hours per day.
Therefore, physicians nowadays seldom prescribe patching for longer than several hours per day. Nonetheless, it does not mean that one should patch less than their doctor prescribes, as the ideal patching duration also depends on the patient’s age and amblyopia etiology.
Generally, younger children will require less patching, and those that squint will need more, although these are general rules and may not apply to everyone. Your child’s physician will, according to their experience, certainly know what is best for your kid.
Stick to the Lazy Eye Treatment
Perhaps the most important aspect of amblyopia treatment then is to stick to the prescribed treatment regime exactly the way you would stick to an antibiotic treatment in case of the aforementioned strep throat infection.
The journey to treating lazy eye requires commitment, consistency, and compliance from patients. By recognizing the importance of compliance in lazy eye treatment, we can increase the likelihood of successful outcomes and optimize the visual potential of individuals with this condition.
Frequently Asked Questions
In the context of vision therapy, compliance refers to the extent to which a patient follows the prescribed treatment plan and actively engages in the recommended exercises and activities.
Compliance is crucial for the success of vision therapy. It is important to strengthen the neural pathways, see the progress, prevent relapse, and seize early intervention benefits.
The reasons for poor compliance also include uncertainty about the benefits of treatment, the child’s distress with the therapy, social aspects of an eyepatch and the weak parental understanding of the condition.