Elbow splinting increases amblyopia patching compliance
Splints increased compliance
The children wore the splints for a median of seven days, but the time ranged from one to 240 days. Prior to the splinting, the children were prescribed a mean of 4.95 hours of patching per day but actually only kept the patches on for a mean of 1.5 hours.
However, wearing the splints, the children kept the patches in place for a mean of 3.4 hours. The difference between the patching time with splints and without was statistically significant (P ≤ 0.0001).
Visual acuity in the amblyopic eyes increased in 39 of the children following the elbow splinting, but stayed constant in the other two.
After wearing the splints for a while, 34 children were able to keep their patches in place without them. The other seven children figured out how to remove their splints and then take off their patches.
The guardians of 34 of the children said they would recommend elbow splints for other children with amblyopia who were not keeping their patches in place.
The researchers acknowledged some limitations to their study. For example, it is retrospective, so the researchers could not tell how many parents were offered elbow splints and declined them, potentially skewing the sample.
Also, much of the data came from parents’ reports, which could be biased.
However, they remained confident of their findings. “This study provides evidence that splinting as a method of increasing patching compliance for amblyopia therapy is a viable treatment,” they concluded.