Background: It is taught that amblyopia must be fully reversed before surgery for esotropia is undertaken to achieve the best surgical outcome. In some cases, this means delaying surgery for many months. The alternative of operating early, before the com-pletion of amblyopia therapy, and continuing to treat the amblyopia postoperatively has not been evaluated previously. Methods: Forty-seven children younger than 8 years of age were identified with a history of both amblyopia and esotropia. They had no other ocular, medical, or neurologic abnormalities. They had no prior strabismus surgery. Of these 47 patients, 26 had their amblyopia fully treated before surgery, and 21 underwent surgery before completing amblyopia therapy. Five of the latter group did not require amblyopia therapy after surgery even though they were still amblyopic before operation. The motor outcome was assessed by comparing the motor alignment at 6 and 0.33 m using accommodative targets in primary position before surgery, at 6 months after surgery, and at the child's most recent visit. Motor success was defined in this study as a postoperative deviation at distance fixation of 8 prism diopters or less. The sensory result was assessed by comparing the frequency of detectable stereoacuity. Results: The treatment groups did not differ significantly in age, depth of amblyopia, refractive error, or preoperative angle. There was no significant difference detected in motor or sensory outcome whether amblyopia was fully or only partially treated before surgery. Conclusion: Performing corrective surgery in children with esotropia before full resolution of amblyopia is safe and efficient if the amblyopia therapy is continued after surgery. This strategy permits earlier surgery without postponing the operation until full resolution of amblyopia. The finding that five patients did not require amblyopia therapy after surgery suggests that eye re-alignment itself can help reverse amblyopia in some cases.
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