Amblyopia, also called lazy eye, is frequently seen in lots of the kids we treat. It forms when the brain shuts off or suppresses vision in one eye. This might occur if your child struggles to see properly through one eye because of nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, or something else that’s limiting clear sight in that eye. Along with corrective glasses, a common treatment option is putting an eye patch on your child’s eye for a number of hours per day to boost vision in the lazy eye. So how does patching really remedy the problem? Well, for the most part, implementing the use of a patch helps your child’s brain to better communicate with the weaker eye, and over time, strengthen it.
It can be frustratingly difficult to have your child wear an eye patch, and even harder if they are really young. Their more active eye is patched, which makes it harder for your child to see. It’s a tricky paradox- your child must wear the patch to improve their weaker eye, but not being able to see well is just what makes patches so hard. There are several methods to help your kids keep their patch on. Employing the use of a reward chart with stickers can really work for some kids. There are a variety of ready-to-wear patches sold in different fun designs. Take advantage of all the options and make it fun by allowing them to select their patch each day. Older kids can usually intellectualize how patching works, so it’s productive to have a little session where you talk about it.
Maybe you can wear a patch also, or have a favorite stuffed animal or doll wear a patch too. For very young children, you can use flotation wings to keep them from removing their patches.
Patches are a great solution to lazy eyes and can be very successful, but it really requires you to keep focused on the long term goal.