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Patches: Not Just For Pirates

Lazy eyes are seen in lots of kids, and are also not difficult to treat. A lazy eye comes about when sight in one eye is stifled. Vision might be suppressed if someone can’t see well through one eye due to issues with distance vision, and in some cases, astigmatism, or something that could be blocking sight in that eye. Usually, an eye patch is prescribed to remedy lazy eyes. We generally advise our patients to have their patch on for several hours daily, and patients will often also require corrective glasses. But how does wearing a patch actually remedy the problem? Basically, implementing the use of an eyepatch encourages your brain to better interact with the weaker eye, which, after some time, will strengthen it.

In some cases, it can be extremely hard to have your child fitted with a patch, and no less if they are too young to really comprehend the treatment. Their stronger eye is patched, which infringes on their ability to see. It may be hard to explain the patch to a young child; that they must cover their strong eye to better the sight in their weaker eye, but can’t happen successfully unless their better eye is patched, thus restricting their sight. There are a number of ways to help your kids keep their patch on. With preschool-aged kids, use a sticker chart. There are lots of ready-to-wear patches available in different fun designs. Involve your child in the process and make it an activity by giving them the opportunity to choose a new and fun patch every day and then putting a sticker on the chart when the patch stays on. For older kids, tell them about the helpfulness of wearing a patch, and refer to it as an exercise to strengthen their eye.

Another trick some parents have found success with is also putting an eye patch on their child’s favorite doll or stuffed animal.

A positive result needs you to stay focused on the long term goal.