Treatment of children with amblyopia by perceptual learning

Uri Polat*, Tova Ma-Naim, Abraham Spierer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent studies have shown that perceptual learning has the potential to treat amblyopia. In this study we tested whether a recent perceptual learning technique that improved visual functions in adults can be applied to improve the vision of children after the conventional treatment of patching has failed. A prospective clinical pilot study was carried out in children who were non-compliant with patching or in whom patching had failed despite good compliance. Each child underwent a complete eye examination before and after treatment. The treatment was based on a perceptual learning technique that was similar to the adult study [Polat, U., Ma-Naim, T., Belkin, M., & Sagi, D. (2004). Improving vision in adult amblyopia by perceptual learning. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 101(17), 6692-6697]. Between blocks, children played a computer game to engage and maintain their attention in order to increase compliance. Each child received two treatment sessions a week, with a total of not more than 40 sessions. Each session lasted for about 1 h and included a total practice time of about 30 min. The age of the children (n = 5) was between 7 and 8 years (mean 7.3 years). For the whole group, the average improvement in visual acuity was 1.5 Snellen lines or 2.12 ETDRS lines. The training improved the contrast sensitivity, which reached the normal range after treatment. Thus, the perceptual learning technique can be successfully used to treat children with amblyopia even after the conventional treatment of patching fails.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2599-2603
Number of pages5
JournalVision Research
Issue number21
StatePublished - 29 Oct 2009


  • Amblyopia
  • Contrast sensitivity
  • Perceptual learning
  • Plasticity
  • Treatment


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