Amblyopia, or lazy eye, is frequently seen in children. A lazy eye forms when the brain turns off or suppresses sight in one eye. This may occur if someone isn’t able to see properly through one eye because of nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, or something else that’s limiting vision in that eye. Usually, eye patches are recommended in the treatment of lazy eyes. We generally instruct our patients to wear their patch for several hours a day, and patients will often also require corrective glasses. So how does wearing a patch really remedy the problem? In short, wearing an eyepatch encourages your brain to connect with the weaker eye, eventually strengthening how well it functions.
A lot of parents have trouble fitting their kids with patches, particularly if they’re on the younger side. When their better eye is patched, it makes it harder for your child to see. It can be difficult to explain the patch to a young child; that they need to wear the patch to improve their weaker eye, but that weak eyesight is exactly what makes patching so hard. But fear not: there are a few methods to encourage your child to wear their patch. Implementing a reward chart with stickers can be successful with some kids. There are lots of ready-to-wear patches sold in a cornucopia colors and patterns. Let your child be a part of the process and make it an activity by allowing them to choose a new and fun patch each day. Older kids can usually understand the process, so it’s helpful to have a talk about it.
Another thing some parents have found success with is also putting a patch on their child’s favorite doll or stuffed animal. Flotation wings are also helpful when it comes to preventing younger patients from pulling their patches off.
Patches are great and can be really helpful, but it depends on your child’s help and your ability to stick to the long-term goal of recovering visual acuity in your child’s weaker eye.