Your doctor recommends that your child wear an eye patch as part of the treatment for amblyopia or "lazy" eye.
The following should be completed by your child's doctor:
Child's name: ________________
Check which eye is to be patched: Left eye___ Right eye ____
Patch for ____ hours per day, ____ days a week, for ____ weeks.
Print name: ______________________
Your child's follow-up appointment is: _______________________
To get the most benefit from the eye patch, follow these instructions carefully.
How patching works
The eye patch works by blocking the vision of your child's stronger eye. This forces the weaker, or "lazy", eye to work harder so that the vision in that eye can improve.
Getting used to the patch
Since the patch covers the eye that sees best, your child may have some trouble adjusting. How long your child wears the eye patch each day will depend on how old your child is and how poor the vision is in the weaker eye. It's common for children to try to take the patch off. However, this should stop once your child is used to wearing it.
Making it easier for your child
Patching can be frustrating. It's important that you remain patient but persistent. If you find patching challenging, ask a relative or friend to help. Children will adapt to the patching if it is done properly in the first few days.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Try explaining to your child why the patch is necessary. Make sure you use words, or terms, your child will understand.
- For working parents, try patching when you have time to be with your child, such as in the evenings.
- At first, try patching for shorter periods of time. As your child gets used to wearing the patch, increase to the amount of time ordered by the doctor.
- Watch your child closely to make sure they can get around easily with the patch on.
- Try involving your child in fun activities so they are using the eye that is not patched. These include: watching TV, playing video or computer games, playing a board game, reading, or going for a walk.
- For very young children, put the patch on during times when you are already doing things for them. This includes: feeding, bathing, or changing.
- Keep your baby's environment very visual. Place a mirror on the wall or create a visual target by drawing a circle, square, or grid pattern in black in the centre of a white piece of paper. Place the targets on the wall. Carry the baby to the targets so the baby is able to focus on the targets.
- If your child falls asleep while the patch is still on, do not remove it. When the child wakes up, continue with the patching timing.
- Do not try working on a new issue at the same time as patching. For example, potty training.
More information about the patch
- You can buy eye patches in drug stores or vision (eye) centres and offices.
- The easiest patches to use are the kinds that come already sticky. You will not need to use tape to stick the patch over the eye.
- If your child wears glasses, put the patch directly over his eye. Glasses should be worn on top of the patch.
It is important that you and your child go to the follow-up appointment. At the appointment your child's doctor will check the progress in the eye with Amblyopia. The doctor will also make sure the vision in the patched eye has not decreased.
If your child's appointment is cancelled by the hospital, be sure to make it clear that your child is following the patching regime. This will allow hospital staff to reschedule a follow-up appointment appropriately.
- Eye patching is a treatment for Amblyopia, or "lazy eye".
- When patching your child's eye, make sure you are patching the correct eye and the eye is fully covered.
- If you find patching your child's eye difficult, ask a family member or friend to help.
- Be sure to go to your child's follow-up appointment. During this appointment, your child's doctor will determine how well your child's vision is progressing.