Parents’ Guide: Children’s Eye Patches for Glasses
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Has your family optometrist just diagnosed your child with a vision problem, such as amblyopia, that needs correction with eye patches? There are things you can do to make your child’s treatment that much smoother.
What is Amblyopia?
Also known as “lazy eye”, amblyopia is when the brain and the eye don’t work together. If the eye sends an optic image to the brain that isn’t clear, the signal to that eye is turned off. Without correction, vision in the eye will continue to deteriorate. Amblyopia is one of the most common vision problems affecting children.
Causes of Amblyopia
There are several conditions that cause Amblyopia:
- Strabismus – crossed eye
- Far sightedness
- Near sightedness
- Astigmatism – irregular shaped eye
- Anisometropia – vision strength between eyes is different
What are Eye Patches and Why Wear One?
If your child has been diagnosed with amblyopia they may be required to wear a patch to correct vision in the lazy eye. The sooner children are diagnosed with amblyopia, the easier it will be to correct vision.
How do eye patches correct vision?
A patch is put over the eye that is working correctly, so that the bad eye has to work harder and get stronger. When the one eye is patched, it forces your child to use the eye that needs correcting. Vision in this weaker eye is stimulated, which makes the eye stronger. Your doctor will let you know when your child needs to wear the patch over the eye and for how long.
Patches over Eyeglasses
If your child is wearing glasses for vision correction other than a lazy eye, wearing the patch over the eyeglasses is a good option.
Types of Eye Patches
Depending on your child’s diagnosis, there are different types of patches available.
Adhesive Patches – Adhesive skin patches are attached directly to the area around the eye. They should fit firmly and comfortably.
Fabric Patches – Fabric patches are good for children who get skin irritation from adhesive patches or who won’t comply with wearing one. Fabric patches fit on the outside lens of eye glasses and are available in different designs and colours.
Tips for Wearing Glasses and Eye Patches
If your child needs to wear a patch, there a few things you can do to make it easier to support them as they get used to something new and different.
Support and Understanding
One of the most important things you can do is help your child understand why they need to wear a patch. Explain that if they want to see better in the one eye, the patch can make the lazy eye stronger. Let them know that they won’t be wearing the patch forever and that it will only be for a few hours each day until the vision is corrected.
Be sure to talk to family and friends, as well as teachers, so that everyone can be supportive during this time.
Rules and Rewards
Establish rules and guidelines for wearing the patch. Children do better when they know exactly how long the patch needs to be worn. Use a timer for daily wear, and a calendar to keep track of days. Some children find it encouraging to see how many days they’ve already worn the patch.
Rewards can sometimes boost your child’s interest in wearing the patch and minimize the complaints about having to wear something over the one eye. Letting your child only watch television when they’re wearing the patch can bea good incentive.
Using Fun Patches
With so many different patterns and colours available, it’s easy for your child to personalize their patch style. Let them pick out their own styles, so they feel like they’re making some of their own decisions when it comes to wearing a patch.
Has your child been diagnosed with lazy eye and needs to wear a patch? Contact Image Optometry in Vancouver for advice on children’s eye patches for glasses and to find out what patches they have available. Or call them to book an exam if your child is displaying symptoms of lazy eye. They are also available to adjust your children’s glasses or patches.