Amblyopia, also called lazy eye, is frequently seen in lots of kids. A lazy eye forms when sight is suppressed, often in one eye. This can happen if someone struggles to see properly through one eye because of nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. Usually, eye patches are recommended in the treatment of lazy eyes. We generally advise our patients to wear their patch for a couple of hours daily, and patients will often also need corrective glasses.
In some cases, it can be extremely difficult to have your child fitted with an eye patch, especially if they are quite young. Their stronger eye is covered with the patch, which makes it harder for your child to see. It's a frustrating conundrum- your child must patch their eye to improve their weaker eye, but this can only be done when their better eye is patched, thus restricting their vision. There are a number of tricks to help your son or daughter keep their patch on. Implementing a reward system with stickers given when the patch is worn can be successful with some kids. Eye patch manufacturers understand the issue; patches are made in lots of patterns and colors that kids can get excited about. Let your child be feeling like they're a part of the process and make it an activity by giving them the opportunity to select their patch every day and then putting a sticker on the chart when the patch stays on.
Older kids can usually intellectualize the process, so it's productive to sit and talk to them about it. For very young children, you can use flotation wings to prevent them from reaching their eyes to remove the patch.
Patches are a great solution to lazy eyes and can be really effective, but it depends on your child's help and your ability to stick to the long-term goal of recovering visual acuity in your child's weaker eye.