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Acupuncture effective as eye patching therapy?

A small Chinese study published in the December issued of the Archives of Ophthalmology reveals that acupuncture may effectively treat older children dealing with a particular form of lazy eye. Lazy eye (amblyopia) is a miscommunication between the brain and the eyes which results in one eye being favored over the other eye. One particular type of lazy eye known as anisometropia is caused by a difference in the degree of nearsightedness or farsightedness between the two eyes. Standard protocol for anisometropia involves contact lens or eyeglasses designed to correct the focus problem. This is usually successful in children ages 3 to 7 but is not as successful in children between the ages of? 7 and 12. Doctors then rely on using patch therapy which involves placing a patch over the "good" eye temporarily in addition to eyeglasses. Some children don't adjust well to the therapy and may develop a reverse form of lazy eye. Researchers decided to look for another treatment option and decided upon acupuncture since it had been used to treat dry eye and myopia. Half of the children in the study were treated five times a week with acupuncture and the other half were given two hours of patch therapy. Results showed that overall vision was dramatically improved among the acupuncture group as compared to the patch therapy group. In fact, lazy eye was effectively treated in almost 42 percent of the acupuncture group while only 17 percent of those in the patch therapy group were successfully treated. While a more controlled study is needed, researchers do note that this might be an alternative therapy for those children who do not have success with the patch therapy.* Andrea Schumann Staff Writer

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