Many our younger patients experience a lazy eye. A lazy eye comes about when the brain shuts off or suppresses sight in one eye. This may occur if someone struggles to see as well with one eye because of issues with distance vision, and in some cases, astigmatism, or something else that’s blocking clear vision in that eye. In most cases, an eye patch is the central and most productive part of remedying lazy eyes. We generally instruct our patients to wear their patch for a few hours daily, and patients will usually also need corrective glasses. So how does patching really help? In short, implementing the use of an eyepatch encourages your brain to connect with the weaker eye, and over time, strengthen it.
A lot of parents have trouble fitting their kids with patches, particularly if they’re on the younger side. Their more active eye is covered with the patch, which makes it harder for your child to see. It can be challenging to rationalize the process to your young child; that they must patch their eye to help their weaker eye, but this can only be done when their strong eye is patched, which temporarily limits their vision. But don’t worry; there are quite a few ways that make eyepatches a bit less challenging for children to wear. With preschoolers, use a reward chart with stickers. Eye patch manufacturers sympathize with the issue; patches are available in loads of kid-friendly colors and patterns. Involve your child in the process and make it an activity by giving them the chance to select their patch every day and implement the reward chart with stickers For kids who are a little older, break down the importance of patching, and talk about it as a way to help their vision in the long term.
Another method some parents have found success with is also putting an eye patch on their child’s favorite doll or stuffed animal. For very young children, there are flotation wings to keep them from unsticking their patches.
A positive result needs your child’s help and your ability to stick to the long-term goal of recovering visual acuity in your child’s weaker eye.