The study involved 88 children with amblyopia: 43 participants received five acupuncture treatments a week, while the other 45 had their good eye patched for two hours a day (a standard treatment strategy for amblyopia). After 15 weeks, lazy eye was resolved in 41.5 percent of eyes in the acupuncture group (compared with 16.7 percent of eyes in the patching group).
It's not known how acupuncture might help treat amblyopia. However, the study's authors theorize that targeting vision-related acupuncture points on the body may alter activity in brain regions responsible for receiving data from the eyes. It's also possible that acupuncture may stimulate blood flow to the eye and promote the production of certain compounds known to nourish retinal nerves, the study's authors note.