BMJ Open Ophthalmology (2021-07-01)

Comparison between binocular therapy and patching for treatment of amblyopia: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials

  • Chun-Wen Chen,
  • Qin Zhu,
  • Yu-Bing Duan,
  • Jing-Yan Yao

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 6, no. 1


Read online

Several studies have compared binocular therapy and patching for the treatment of amblyopia. However, most of them involved a small number of cases and reported controversial results. Thus, the benefit of binocular therapy remains to be confirmed. We conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate the efficacy of binocular therapy versus patching and to testify whether binocular therapy could become supplementary method in children with amblyopia. Randomised controlled trials that evaluated the efficacy of binocular therapy for amblyopia versus patching were identified using PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Library, Ovid, Web of Science,, and the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform. Data screening, extraction and quality assessment were performed independently by two researchers. Six trials were identified and analysed to compare binocular therapy (708 eyes) with patching (664 eyes) for change in best-corrected visual acuity and stereoacuity. Efficacy estimates were evaluated by standard mean difference (SMD) and 95% CI. The best-corrected visual acuity in binocular group was better than that of in patching group (SMD=−0.21 logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution (log MAR), 95% CI of −0.50 to 0.08 log MAR, p=0.003). The results showed statistically significant difference in the change of best-corrected visual acuity between the groups, but not in stereoacuity. Binocular therapy may be a promising treatment of conditions affecting visual acuity, and could be applied as a supplementary method to patching for amblyopia in clinical practice. The present analysis showed that some children with amblyopia may benefit from binocular therapy. Nevertheless, larger randomised controlled clinical trials are required to confirm these findings.