Lots of our younger patients exhibit the symptoms of a lazy eye. It comes about when vision is suppressed, but only in one eye. This can happen if a child struggles to see well through one eye because of issues with distance vision, and in some cases, astigmatism, or something that could be obstructing clear vision in that eye. In addition to corrective glasses, one of the treatment options involves putting an eye patch on your child’s eye for a number of hours per day to stimulate vision in the lazy eye. So how does patching really work? In short, implementing the use of a patch helps your brain to connect with the weaker eye, which, following a period of time, will help it see just as well as the other eye.
A lot of moms and dads have trouble fitting their kids with eye patches, especially if they’re quite young. When the stronger eye is covered, it restricts their ability to see. It’s a frustrating conundrum- your child needs to wear the patch to help their weaker eye, but this can only be done when their better eye is covered, thus restricting their sight. There are quite a few methods to help your son or daughter keep their patch on. With preschool-aged kids, perhaps you can use a reward chart with stickers. Eye patch manufacturers are aware of the challenge; patches are sold in lots of patterns and colors that kids will love. Involve your child in the process and make it fun by giving them the opportunity to select a new and fun patch every day. Kids who are a little older will be able to intellectualize the process, so it’s worthwhile to have a talk about it.
Patches are a great solution to lazy eyes and can be very helpful, but it really requires your child’s help and your ability to stick to the long-term goal of improving your child’s vision.