Effect of citicoline on visual acuity in amblyopia: preliminary results

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Abstract

•Background: Citicoline has been used to improve consciousness levels in cerebral trauma and as a complement for levodopa in Parkinson's disease. It has also been shown that severe glaucomatous visual field deficits improve for at least 4 months with the use of citicoline. In this paper, preliminary results are presented of an open and a double-blind study on the effect of citicoline in amblyopia.

•Methods: The open study was started in 1991. Fifty patients with amblyopia were treated with citicoline (1000 mg i.m. daily for 15 days). They were selected from an age group beyond the plastic period of the visual system. Occlusion or other types of anti-amblyopic treatment were never used at the same time as citicoline. A double-blind study was conducted on 10 more patients, randomly assigned to a treatment or placebo group and followed for 6 months. A statistical test for repeated measures was performed on all the results.

•Results: A statistically significant improvement in visual acuity was found both for the amblyopic and the sound eye in 46 of the 50 patients (92%). The behaviour was different for normal and amblyopic eyes. The improvement remained stable for at least 4 months. These results have been substantiated by the double-blind study. No side effects were observed.

•Conclusion: Citicoline improves visual acuity, at least temporarily, in amblyopic patients beyond the plastic period of the visual system. Our results suggest that trials of citicoline as a medical treatment of amblyopia are warranted.