Lazy eyes are extremely common, and are also not difficult to rectify. Amblyopia forms when the brain switches off or suppresses sight in one eye. Vision might be suppressed if a child isn’t able to see well through one eye due to nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, or something else that’s obstructing vision in that eye. In most cases, patches are the central and most productive part of strengthening a lazy eye. Our patients are instructed to have their patch on for several hours a day, and often the patients will need corrective glasses as well. So how does patching really help? Well, for the most part, employing the use of a patch trains your brain to connect with the weaker eye, and over time, strengthen it.
Many parents find it extremely difficult to fit their kids with eye problem patches, particularly when they’re preschool-aged. Their more active eye is covered with the patch, which makes it harder for your child to see. It’s a frustrating paradox- your child must patch their eye to help the eyesight in their weaker eye, but that weak eyesight is precisely what makes the patching so difficult. But don’t worry; there are a number of methods to encourage your child to wear their patch. For preschoolers, you may find success by using a sticker chart. Patch manufacturers are aware of your plight; patches are sold in lots of patterns and colors that kids will love. Take advantage of all the options and make it fun by allowing them to select a different patch each day. With kids who are a little older, explain the importance of wearing a patch, and talk about it as an exercise to help their vision in the long term.
Another trick some parents have found success with is also placing a patch on their child’s favorite doll or stuffed animal. For very young children, you can use flotation wings to prevent them from removing their patches.
Patches are a great solution to lazy eyes and can be really helpful, but it depends on you to stay focused on your long term goal.