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Focusing on Eye Patches

Lazy eyes are pretty common, and are also fairly simple to treat. A lazy eye develops when the brain turns off or suppresses vision in one eye. Vision might be suppressed if a child isn't able to see properly through one eye due to a large difference in the prescription between the two eyes or  when strabismus (crossed eyes) is present.  It can also occur when something obstructs light from entering the eye such as a congenital cataract.  Working in conjunction with corrective glasses, one of the treatment options is putting an eye patch on your child's eye for a number of hours per day to boost vision in the lazy eye. But how does patching really remedy the problem? Basically, wearing an eye patch helps your brain to better interact with the weaker eye, which, over time, will help that eye get stronger.

Many parents have trouble fitting their children with eye patches, particularly when they're quite young. Their more active eye is covered with the patch, which makes it harder for your child to see. It's a tricky notion- your child must cover their eye to better their weaker eye, but not being able to see well is precisely the thing that makes patching so hard. There are a few methods that make eye patches a bit more fun for kids to wear. With preschool-aged kids, you may find success by using a reward chart with stickers. Patch manufacturers are aware of your plight; patches are available in lots of patterns and colors that kids will love. Let your child be a part of the process and make it fun by giving them the opportunity to choose their patch every day and then putting a sticker on the chart when the patch is properly worn.   Often, a good incentive for the child is allowing favorite video games to be played ONLY when the patch is worn.   Other fun activities that require good hand-eye coordination, will also stimulate and strengthen the amblyopic eye.     

There are special patches available that are cloth based, not adhesive, with fun patterns that the child can enjoy.  Patches are a great solution to lazy eyes and can be really effective, but it really requires your child's assistance and your ability to remain focused on the long-term goal of improving your child's vision.