Lazy eyes are seen in many children, and are also fairly simple to rectify. Amblyopia develops when the brain switches off or suppresses sight in one eye. Vision might be suppressed if your child struggles to see properly through one eye because of issues with distance vision, and in some cases, astigmatism. In most cases, patches are the central and most productive part of remedying a lazy eye. Our patients are told to have their patch on for a few hours each day, and often the patients are required corrective glasses as well. But how does patching really work? Well, for the most part, employing the use of an eyepatch encourages your child’s brain to connect with the weaker eye, and over time, strengthen it.
In some cases, it can be quite challenging to have your son or daughter fitted with a patch, and even harder when they’re too young to properly comprehend the concept. Their more active eye is patched, which infringes on their ability to see. It’s a frustrating paradox- your child needs to patch their eye to improve their weaker eye, but not being able to see well is just what makes the patching so hard. But don’t worry; there are a few ways that make eyepatches a little easier for children to wear. For preschoolers, you may find success by using a reward chart with stickers. There are a variety of ready-to-wear patches sold in a cornucopia fun designs. Take advantage of all the options and make it fun by allowing them to select their patch each day. With older kids, tell them about the importance of patching, and talk about it as a way to strengthen their eye.
For very young children, you can use flotation wings to prevent them from reaching their eyes to remove the patch.
Patches are great and can be really helpful, but it really requires your child’s help and your ability to stick to the long-term goal of restoring visual acuity in your child’s weaker eye.