Amblyopia, or lazy eye, is frequently 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 properly through one eye because of nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism, or something that’s obstructing vision in that eye. In most cases, an eye patch is the central and most productive part of remedying lazy eyes. Our patients are advised to have their patch on for a couple of hours daily, and in most cases, the patients need eye glasses as well. So how does wearing a patch actually help? Basically, implementing the use of a patch trains your brain to better communicate with the weaker eye, and over time, strengthen it.
It can be very hard to have your child fitted with an eye patch, and no less if they are quite young. Their stronger eye is covered with the patch, which makes it harder for your child to see. It’s a confusing conundrum- your child is required to wear the patch to help the sight in their weaker eye, but this can only be done when their better eye is covered, thus restricting their sight. But fear not: there are quite a few ways to encourage your child to wear their patch. For preschool-aged kids, use a reward chart with stickers. There are a variety of ready-to-wear patches available in many colors and patterns. Involve your child in the process and make it fun by giving them the chance to choose a different patch each day and implement the reward chart with stickers Older kids can usually intellectualize the process, so it’s useful to have a talk about it.
For very young children, you can use flotation wings to prevent them from removing their patches.
A good outcome needs your child’s assistance and your ability to stick to the long-term goal of recovering good vision in your child’s lazy eye.