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Helping Lazy Eyes Get Active

Amblyopia, which is also called lazy eye, is a condition commonly seen in lots of the kids we treat. A lazy eye comes about when the brain shuts off or suppresses vision in one eye. Vision might be suppressed if a child struggles to see well through one eye because of issues with distance vision, and in some cases, astigmatism, or something that might be obstructing clear vision in that eye. Usually, eye patches are recommended in the treatment of lazy eyes. We generally advise our patients to have their patch on for several hours daily, and patients will often also require corrective glasses. So how does patching really remedy the problem? In short, implementing the use of an eyepatch trains your brain to better communicate with the weaker eye, eventually strengthening how well it functions.

It can be frustratingly difficult to have your child fitted with a patch, especially when they're quite young. When their better eye is covered, it infringes on their ability to see. It may be hard to rationalize the patch to a young child; that they must patch their eye to better their weaker eye, but not being able to see well is exactly what makes the patching so hard. But fear not: there are a number of methods to help your child wear their patch. Employing the use of a reward chart with stickers can really work for some kids. There are lots of ready-to-wear patches available in a cornucopia colors and patterns. Make it an activity by allowing them to choose their patch every day. Older kids can usually intellectualize the process, so it's helpful to sit and talk to them about it.

Maybe wear a patch together with your child, or maybe put a patch on their favorite doll. Flotation wings are also helpful in keeping young children from pulling their patches off.

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

 

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