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Focusing on Eye Patches

Many our younger patients exhibit the symptoms of a lazy eye. Amblyopia forms when vision in one eye is suppressed. This can occur if a child can't see well through one eye because of nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, or something that's limiting vision in that eye. Usually, eye patches are the central and most productive part of remedying a lazy eye. We generally instruct our patients to wear their patch for a couple of hours a day, and patients will usually also require corrective glasses. But how does patching really help? In short, wearing an eyepatch trains your child's brain to connect with the weaker eye, eventually strengthening how well it functions.

Often, moms and dads find it really difficult to fit their kids with eye patches, especially if they're preschool-aged. When the better eye is patched, it makes it harder for your child to see. It may be difficult to explain the process to a young child; that they must wear the patch to help the sight in their weaker eye, but that weak eyesight is exactly the thing that makes the patching so difficult. There are a number of methods to encourage your child to wear their patch. Employing the use of a reward system with stickers given when the patch is worn can be great for some kids. There are lots of ready-to-wear patches sold in many fun designs. Make it fun by allowing them to select their patch every day and using the reward chart with stickers Kids who are a little older can usually intellectualize how patching works, so it's useful to have a talk about it.

Another thing some parents find helpful is also putting a patch on their child's favorite doll or stuffed animal. Flotation wings are also helpful when it comes to preventing young children from pulling their patches off.

A good outcome needs your child's cooperation and your ability to remain focused on the long-term goal of recovering good vision in your child's weaker eye.