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Patches: Not Just For Pirates

Amblyopia, also called lazy eye, is commonly seen in children. It comes about when the brain turns off or suppresses vision in one eye. Vision might be suppressed if a child can’t see well through one eye because of nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, or something else that’s blocking clear sight in that eye. 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 sight in the lazy eye. Patching.

It can be very difficult to have your child fitted with a patch, especially if they are quite young. Their more active eye is patched, which makes it harder for your child to see. It’s a confusing conundrum- your child needs to wear the patch to improve their weaker eye, but can’t happen successfully unless their better eye is covered, thus restricting their sight. But don’t worry; there are several tricks to help your kids wear their patch. For preschoolers, use a reward chart with stickers. Eye patch manufacturers are aware of the issue; patches are available in loads of kid-friendly colors and patterns. Take advantage of all the options and make it fun by giving them the chance to choose a new and fun patch every day and then putting a sticker on the chart when the patch stays on. With kids who are a little older, explain the importance of wearing a patch, and talk about it as an effective way to strengthen their eye.

For very young children, there are flotation wings to keep them from unsticking their patches.

Patches are a great solution to lazy eyes and can be very successful, but it really requires you to stay focused on your long term goal.