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BMJ Case Reports 2011; doi:10.1136/bcr.07.2010.3143
  • Myth exploded

Recovery of stereo acuity in adults with amblyopia

  1. Ben S Webb
  1. School of Psychology, The University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, UK
  1. Correspondence to Andrew Astle, andrew.astle{at}nottingham.ac.uk

Summary

Disruption of visual input to one eye during early development leads to marked functional impairments of vision, commonly referred to as amblyopia. A major consequence of amblyopia is the inability to encode binocular disparity information leading to impaired depth perception or stereo acuity. If amblyopia is treated early in life (before 4 years of age), then recovery of normal stereoscopic function is possible. Treatment is rarely undertaken later in life (adulthood) because declining levels of neural plasticity are thought to limit the effectiveness of standard treatments. Here, the authors show that a learning-based therapy, designed to exploit experience-dependent plastic mechanisms, can be used to recover stereoscopic visual function in adults with amblyopia. These cases challenge the long-held dogma that the critical period for visual development and the window for treating amblyopia are one and the same.

Footnotes

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

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