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The treatment of anisometropic or ametropic amblyopia has traditionally enjoyed a high treatment success rate. Early initiation and consistent use of spectacle correction can completely resolve amblyopia in a majority of patients. For those with anisometropic amblyopia that fail to improve with glasses wear alone, patching or atropine penalisation can lead to equalisation of visual acuity. However, successful treatment requires full-time compliance with refractive correction and this can be a challenge for a patient population that often has one eye with good acuity without correction. Other barriers for a select population with high anisometropic or ametropic amblyopia include rejection of glasses for various reasons including discomfort, behavioural or sensory problems, postural issues and visually significant aniseikonia. When consistent wear of optical correction proves difficult and patching/atropine remains a major obstacle, surgical correction of refractive error has proven success in achieving vision improvement. Acting as a means to achieve spectacle independence or reducing the overall needed refractive correction, refractive surgery can offer a unique treatment option for this patient population. Laser surgery, phakic intraocular lenses and clear lens exchange are three approaches to altering the refractive state of the eye. Each has documented success in improving vision, particularly in populations where glasses wear has not been possible. Surgical correction of refractive error has a risk profile greater than that of more traditional therapies. However, its use in a specific population offers the opportunity for improving visual acuity in children who otherwise have poor outcomes with glasses and patching/atropine alone.