Addressing Barriers to Amblyopia Therapy

Research details

  • Type of funding: Fight for Sight / BIOS Small Grant Award
  • Grant Holder: Mrs Laura England
  • Institute: Manchester Royal Eye Hospital
  • Region: North West
  • Start date: November 2022
  • End Date: September 2024
  • Priority: Treatment
  • Eye Category: Childhood-onset
Brief plain language background

Amblyopia, or "lazy eye", is a vision problem that happens in childhood. It occurs when one eye doesn't develop properly and becomes weaker than the other eye. As a result, the brain relies more on the stronger eye, neglecting the weaker one.

Early treatment from an orthoptist, like using an eye patch or glasses, can help improve the weaker eye's vision and prevent long-term vision issues.

What problem/knowledge gap does it help address

Children who are affected by socioeconomic deprivation have been reported to receive less improvement from orthoptic therapy for weak vision, or amblyopia, compared to children from homes that need less support.

Suggestions of barriers to treatment for people affected by deprivation include but are not limited to a reduced awareness of medical conditions and difficulty maintaining treatment or attending follow-up appointments.

Aim of the project

This project aims to:

  1. Assess whether social deprivation affects orthoptic treatment outcomes in Greater Manchester.
  2. Explore the barriers to treatment and how these can be reduced.
Key procedures/objectives
  1. Calculate vision improvement and attendance rates for children referred for orthoptic treatment from two Greater Manchester boroughs. One has the highest and the other has the lowest score of deprivation.
  2. Assess the relationship of vision improvement and attendance rates with measures of social deprivation for each child.
  3. Using this data, investigate treatment barriers with the parents of children from the five clinics with the worst outcomes following orthoptic treatment.
  4. Develop an educational video and appointment reminder system.
Potential impact on people with sight loss

Treating amblyopia can help prevent long-term vision issues in children with weak vision. The results of this project could inform orthoptic departments where to focus resources to make treatment more accessible and ultimately improve the prognosis for children most at risk.