NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acupuncture could be an alternative to eye patches or eye drops for older children with amblyopia, a common childhood vision problem more commonly known as lazy eye, according to a study. The problem, in which one eye is less farsighted or nearsighted than the other, can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses if caught at an early age. But both are less effective for children beyond about the age of 7, who traditionally have been treated by patching the stronger eye.But Robert Ritch of the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary and Chinese colleagues found that children treated by a certified acupuncturist had similar improvement in their affected eyes as those who wore a patch for a couple of hours each day.Both advanced two lines or more on an eye chart over the course of the study, which was published in the Archives of Opthalmology. Acupuncture has been used for a lot of things in Chinese medicine. And its being used more and more in the West, Ritch told Reuters Health. But evidence-based medicine to see what it actually does is relatively lacking. Ritch and Chinese colleagues studied 88 children in China between the ages of 7 and 12 who suffered from amblyopia and had already been wearing glasses.