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Barriers to successful dichoptic treatment for amblyopia in young children.

Abstract

Purpose

In an ongoing randomised clinical trial comparing dichoptic VR video games with patching for amblyopia, we evaluated any potential barriers to successful use of this novel amblyopia treatment method.

Methods

From December 2017, all newly diagnosed amblyopic children were recruited. Excluded were children under age 4 and patients with strabismus exceeding 30PD. The video game was played for 1 h per week at the outpatient clinic under direct supervision. Records were kept of difficulties encountered during treatment and categorised into domains. Factors influencing the successful completion of this treatment were identified and related to patient characteristics.

Results

Ninety-one children were recruited for the trial, 20 parents refused participation before randomisation, because of the logistical challenges the outpatient dichoptic treatment would cause them. Of the 17 children who commenced dichoptic treatment (median age 6.2 years; IQR 4.9-8.4 years), 10 did not complete treatment. Children under age 5.5 years were unable to comprehend the game settings or the game itself. Older children (N = 7; 41%) were less willing to comply with the video game. Loss of interest in the game (N = 8; 47%) was found to be a limiting factor at all ages.

Conclusion

Half of the children failed to complete VR dichoptic treatment, mainly due to young age. In countries with nationwide screening where amblyopia is detected before age 6, the applicability of such dichoptic treatment is limited.

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