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Patches: Not Just For Pirates

Lazy eyes are extremely common, and are also fairly simple to fix. Amblyopia develops when the brain switches off or suppresses sight in one eye. Vision might be suppressed if someone can't see properly through one eye because of issues with distance vision, and in some cases, astigmatism, or something that's limiting vision in that eye. Working in conjunction 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 remedy the problem? Basically, wearing an eyepatch encourages your child's brain to better communicate with the weaker eye, eventually improving how well it functions.

It can be very hard to have your child fitted with an eye patch, and no less if they are quite young. When the better eye is covered, it makes it harder for your child to see. It's a tricky notion- your child needs to cover their eye to improve the sight in their weaker eye, but that weak eyesight is precisely the thing that makes the patching so difficult. But fear not: there are a number of tricks that make eyepatches a little funner for children to wear. Implementing a reward system with stickers given when the patch is worn can be great for some kids. There are lots of ready-to-wear patches sold in many colors and patterns. Make it an activity by allowing them to choose a new and fun patch each day and then putting a sticker on the chart when the patch stays on. For kids who are a little older, explain the importance of patching, and talk about it as an effective way to help their vision in the long term.

Another trick some parents find helpful is also putting a patch on their child's favorite doll or stuffed animal.

Patches are great and can be very effective, but it depends on you to stay committed to the goal of improving your child's vision and ultimately, their quality of life.

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