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Home » What's New » Patches: Not Just For Pirates

Patches: Not Just For Pirates

Lots of our younger patients have a lazy eye. Amblyopia comes about when the brain shuts off or suppresses sight in one eye. This can occur if your child isn't able to see well through one eye due to nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. In addition to eye glasses, one of the treatment options involves placing an eye patch on your child's eye for a number of hours per day to stimulate vision in the lazy eye. So how does wearing a patch actually work? Well, for the most part, employing the use of a patch trains your child's brain to better interact with the weaker eye, which, over time, will strengthen it.

In some cases, it can be quite challenging to have your child wear a patch, and even harder when they're too young to properly comprehend the treatment. Their stronger eye is covered with the patch, which infringes on their ability to see. It can be tricky to justify the process to a young child; that they need to wear the patch to help their weaker eye, but not being able to see well is exactly what makes patching so hard. There are quite a few ways to help your child wear their patch. Implementing a reward chart with stickers given when the patch is worn can be great for some kids. There are lots of adhesive patches available in many fun designs. Involve your child in the process and make it fun by giving them the chance to select their patch every day. Older kids will be able to comprehend the patching process, so it's productive to sit and talk to them about it.

Another method some parents have found success with is also placing a patch on their child's favorite doll or stuffed animal. For very young children, there are flotation wings to stop them from reaching their eyes to remove the patch.

A successful outcome is dependent on your child's assistance and your ability to remain focused on the long-term goal of restoring good vision in your child's weaker eye.