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A Closer Look at Eye Patches

Many children exhibit the symptoms of a lazy eye. It develops when sight is suppressed, but only in one eye. Vision might be suppressed if a child struggles to see well through one eye because of nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. In most cases, patches are prescribed to remedy lazy eyes. We generally tell our patients to have their patch on for several hours a day, and often the patients are required eye glasses as well. But how does wearing a patch really remedy the problem? In short, wearing a patch helps your child's brain to connect with the weaker eye, and over time, strengthen it.

It can be extremely challenging to have your son or daughter fitted with a patch, and even harder if they are too young to really comprehend the treatment process. When their good eye is patched, it makes it harder for your child to see. It may be difficult to rationalize the process to your young child; that they need to patch their eye to help their weaker eye, but that weak eyesight is precisely what makes patches so hard. But don't worry; there are a few ways to encourage your child to wear their patch. With preschool-aged kids, use a reward chart with stickers. There are lots of adhesive patches available in many fun designs. Let your child be a part of the process and make it fun by allowing them to choose their patch each day and then putting a sticker on the chart when the patch is properly worn. Older kids can usually intellectualize the process, so it's worthwhile to have a little session where you talk about it.

Maybe you can wear a patch as well, or maybe put a patch on their favorite doll.

A positive outcome is dependent on your child's cooperation and your ability to stick to the long-term goal of helping your child's vision.