My four year old has lazy left eye/Amblyopia. She got glasses about a month ago with the hope this would solve however she was back at the Optometrist last week and the left eye is still not seeing as well as it should. The Optometrist has said that she needs to wear a patch over her right eye (good) for 2-3 hours a day not necessarily continuous.

My questions are: - Does anyone have any tips for getting her to wear it? - Are there any activities that will help her eye? - Has anyone had experience with this that they would like to share?

asked 05 Aug '12, 04:38

K%20D's gravatar image

accept rate: 13%

My daughter was diagnosed with lazy eye just over 2 years ago. At the time she could not read the big E at the top of the eye chart with her right eye (her left eye has perfect vision though). At first the opthamologist prescribed patching for 2 hours a day and after 6 months he increased it to 6 hours. We are now down to 4 hours a day.

When we started my daughter would not wear the patch because she could not see anything with it on. So instead of going straight to 2 hours a day of blindness for her (which is what it was from her point of view) I slowly ramped the time up. The first day I made her wear it for 5 minutes. The next day for 10 minutes. Those two days she sat and cried the whole time. It about broke my husband's heart to do this. It will be very hard for you as the parent to do this for your child, so be prepared and be strong. If you have ever gone through any sort of physical therapy, focus on the benefits versus the pain of going through it. On day 3, I made her wear it for 20 minutes and before the timer went off she was playing with her toys - things were improving quickly. The day after I moved her to a full hour and by day 5 we were up to the 2 hours. By the end of the summer, she had 20/60 vision in the eye that was blind (20/800 vision) two months earlier.

She did complain about the adhesive patches being uncomfortable and pressing on her eye some. So I ordered some pirate eye patches from Party City. When they arrived I dissected one of them to see how they were put together, and then made some out of quilting fabric, elastic, and poster board.

After a year of patching the opthamologist prescribed some glasses for her. At that point she was unable to wear the pirate style patches any more. When I shopped around for the adhesive patches, I found that the best deals were on Amazon. Walmart and Walgreens have them for about 25 - 35 cents per patch, but if you hunt on Amazon you can find them in bulk for about 14 cents per patch (the eye doctor's office had them priced at about 50 cents per patch).

I don't know the cause of your child's lazy eye, but my daughter's is caused by some scar tissue on the back of her retina. Because of this, she has to see a retina specialist about every other visit. During that part of the visit she gets her eyes dilated (warning, lots of crying over the eye drops - remember to take sunglasses for her to these appointments) and then they scan her eye to check for changes in scar tissue. We have been warned that surgery is in her future, but right now, just before her 7th birthday, she is too young. At this point her vision has held steady for over a year, which is why the patching was reduced to 4 hours, and we are pretty much maintaining her progress with the patching. At our last visit we were told that at some point in the future her vision will drop off again and that will probably be when the doctors recommend surgery.

At four years old your daughter is a little young to be concerned about this, but when she gets to school, you need to make sure that you sit down with the teacher and fill her in. We were very fortunate to have an amazing Kindergarten teacher. When our daughter had to start wearing her patch during school, that first day she sat down with the class and explained to them in a way that they could understand. So far most of the teachers have taken it in stride. They may have had questions for us about how best to help our daughter, but they have not let it hold her back, nor have they let other children see it as something to tease her about.

Note from my husband:

First of all, it's worth repeating that our daughter went from almost completely blind in one eye to almost completely normal in the space of about two months, from patching just two hours per day. The patching made an immediate and significant difference. It's difficult to overstate how hard this initial time is for both parent and child, but it definitely can be worth it. She does still have limited peripheral vision in the eye, where the scar tissue is thicker on her retina.

Later, we were asked to increase this to six hours per day. It was very frustrating to increase the amount to cover most of her waking life, including school time, without seeing much additional improvement. There are also side effects. Her hand-eye coordination is well behind other children her age, for example (of course, it might be even worse if we had done nothing).

If I had it to do again, I would have pushed harder to limit the time. It's clear to me that six hours vs two or three was not helping, and it was causing distress to our daughter. In spite of this, take the doctor at his word when he first asks you to increase (and he likely will). It's as soon as you have the first review with no improvement that I would advise pushing back.

Finally, patches. $.50 to $.14 is no big deal for one patch, but over a whole year that saves us $130, give or take shipping. We order a few months at a time to cut the shipping down.


answered 06 Aug '12, 14:04

mkcoehoorn's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

edited 06 Aug '12, 14:26

Thanks for your comments. As our daughter already has glasses we were shown the patches that fit into the glasses. These were 15-30 dollars so I have made some.

(07 Aug '12, 15:46) K D

At the time she got the glasses, our daughter would try to cheat and look around the patch. That's why we went back to the adhesives. They cover the whole eye and she can't edge the glasses around so that she can use her good eye to see.

(07 Aug '12, 23:27) mkcoehoorn
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Asked: 05 Aug '12, 04:38

Seen: 4,862 times

Last updated: 23 Aug '12, 06:27