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Patch It Up

Many kids have a lazy eye. A lazy eye forms when vision is suppressed, but only in one eye. This may happen if someone struggles to see well through one eye because of nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism. Along with corrective glasses, one of the treatment options involves patching your child's eye for a number of hours per day to strengthen sight in the lazy eye. But how does patching actually help? Well, for the most part, implementing the use of an eyepatch encourages your child's brain to better communicate with the weaker eye, which, after some time, will help it see just as well as the other eye.

It can be quite challenging to have your son or daughter fitted with an eye patch, and even harder if they are quite young. When their better eye is patched, it restricts their ability to see. It's a tricky paradox- your child is required to cover their eye to improve the sight in their weaker eye, but not being able to see well is exactly what makes the patching so hard. But don't worry; there are several ways to encourage your child to wear their patch. For preschool-aged kids, perhaps you can use a reward chart with stickers. There are a variety of ready-to-wear patches sold in different colors and patterns. Make it an activity by giving them the chance to select their patch every day. Older kids will be able to intellectualize how patching works, so it's helpful to have a little session where you talk about it.

Perhaps you can put a patch on also, or maybe put a patch on one of their favorite toys. Flotation wings are also helpful when it comes to keeping young children from pulling their patches off.

Patches are a great solution to lazy eyes and can be very helpful, but it depends on your child's help and your ability to stay focused on the long-term goal of recovering good vision in your child's lazy eye.

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