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Acupuncture Beneficial in Children With Amblyopia

Needle treatment found equivalent to patching in children with anisometropic amblyopia

TUESDAY, Dec. 14 (HealthDay News) -- Acupuncture may be as effective as patching in the treatment of older children with anisometropic amblyopia, according to research published in the December issue of the Archives of Ophthalmology.

Jianhao Zhao, M.D., of the Joint Shantou International Eye Center in China, and colleagues analyzed data from 88 children, aged 7 to 12, with an amblyopic eye who were randomized to receive two hours of patching of the sound eye daily or five sessions of acupuncture weekly. All also had constant optical correction and an hour of daily near-vision activities.

The researchers found that, at 15 weeks, the patching and acupuncture groups had improvement of best spectacle-corrected visual acuity (BSCVA) of 1.83 and 2.27 lines, respectively. The mean difference of BSCVA between the groups was 0.049 logMAR, which met the definition of equivalence. Resolution of amblyopia was seen in 16.7 and 41.5 percent of eyes in the patching and acupuncture groups, respectively.

"Additional multicenter studies on different types of amblyopia and a longer period of follow-up are warranted. Moreover, acupuncture itself is a very complicated system of therapy," the authors conclude. "Differences exist among acupuncturists, and there are divergent manipulation modes, stimulation parameters, treatment styles, and subjective sensations evoked by acupuncture stimulation. Because of the good results obtained in our study, the acupoints that we used could be considered for use in clinical practice. Other methods require additional studies."

Several co-authors disclosed a patent application related to this subject.

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