Does your son or daughter have a lazy eye? A lazy eye comes about when the brain turns off or suppresses vision in one eye. Vision might be suppressed if your child struggles to see properly through one eye because of issues with distance vision, and in some cases, astigmatism. In addition to corrective glasses, a reliable treatment option is placing an eye patch on your child’s eye for a number of hours per day to stimulate sight in the lazy eye. But how does patching actually remedy the problem? Well, for the most part, implementing the use of a patch encourages your child’s brain to better communicate with the weaker eye, and over time, strengthen it.
It can be quite challenging to have your child fitted with an eye patch, and even harder if they are really young. When their better eye is covered, it restricts their ability to see. It’s a confusing paradox- your child must cover their eye to better their weaker eye, but can’t happen unless their better eye is patched, thus restricting their sight. But fear not: there are several ways to encourage your child to wear their patch. Implementing a reward chart with stickers can really work with some kids. There are lots of ready-to-wear patches sold in different fun designs. Let your child be a part of the process and make it an activity by allowing them to choose their patch every day. Older kids will be able to intellectualize the process, so it’s helpful to have a little session where you talk about it.
Another method some parents find helpful is also placing a patch on their child’s favorite doll or stuffed animal. Flotation wings are also helpful in preventing young children from pulling their patches off.
Patches are great and can be very successful, but it really requires you to stay committed to your long term goal.