patching

I’ve noticed that we get a lot of visitors to Little Four Eyes who come here looking for information and tips on dealing with kids and eye patches.  We only had to do patching for 6 weeks with Zoe, so I don’t have much to offer, but I know others have a lot more experience with it.  So any tips, tricks or thoughts on patching and what works and what doesn’t?  Has anyone had to combine patches with glasses?  How do you get your kids to leave the patches on?  With glasses, it gets easier as your kids realize that they see better with the glasses, but that’s not the case with patches.

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10 responses to “patching

  1. My son, Nicholas, wears glasses and patches daily. He was diagnosed with ectopia lentis (detached lenses), amblyopia, and anisometropia (differing Rx in each eye), and is very nearsighted (-7.5 R, -10.5 L). Nicholas began wearing glasses at 6months of age, and patching 2 hours daily. Initially (in the first hours) he was somewhat disturbed, I think more by the sensations of eyewear and an adhesive patch, but quickly settled in. We patch every day in the mornings when he gets up, and then he goes to daycare where its taken off a few hours later.

    He has his good and bad days, mostly I think from a growing awareness of self and differences from other toddlers. When he objects, we find that it helps to highlight the positives..the shared experiences. Dad wears glasses too, so he and I share in the cleaning and care of the lenses. When he’s obviously disturbed by the patch, dad wears one too, as does mom. Not to mention his favorite stuffed animals, Tiget and Monkey.

    A positive attitude and reassurance is key in my opinion. Though he’s now to the point where he objects to the patch most mornings, he still keeps it on and faces each day.

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  2. My two year old son has been patching for about three months now for ten hours a week. When we started the patching he really fought it and dad had to wear a patch too and carry him around the block so that he wouldn’t take it off. He seems to wear the patches when we go places more than when we are in the house. He is starting to fight it more, but have been going for a walk in the mornings and just keep putting the patches on every time he takes it off. Also, we have been calling it ‘sucker patch’ the past few weeks and he gets a sucker when he wears it to distract him to leave it on. He usually doesn’t even finish the sucker, but when he knows he is going to get a sucker he’ll leave it on his face until he gets used to it. I’ve heard that it takes about ten minutes for him to adjust to the patch. We also have bought different kinds of patches and show him the balls, cars, etc on the patch before we put it on him and we tell him its ‘just for a little bit.’ Its hard and stressful, but definitely worth the ongoing battle. We point out raccoons, pirates, ‘super why’ cartoon wears a disguise that I tell him is a ‘patch’ over his eyes. He also wears glasses and sometimes when he is really fighting me I’ll tell him, ‘ok, just the patch.’ and then when we take off the patch, ‘ok just the glasses,’ so he thinks he’s getting a compromise.
    Hope this helps.

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  3. Thank you both! I love those suggestions – especially having the parents and stuffed animals wear the patch, too, for a bit.

    George, your story about the shared experiences really resonates. Zoe loves cleaning lenses with us, too. We’ll spend a long time having everyone clean each others’ glasses.

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  4. The more normal we can make him feel..the better. Not sure that sounds right..but it’s making sure that as he becomes more self aware..the glasses remain a positive. We work hard to keep negative thoughts at bay. He comes home with new words in his vocabulary that hes picked up at daycare…’problem’..’broken’..are the latest, which he uses most often in reference to the eyes… So cleaning..helping daddy with his glasses..putting his away carefully at bedtime.
    We also try to to bring to his attention that other kids wear glasses too. When in a mall or elsewhere, we’ll be sure to say hi to any child we may see with a child in glasses. Might only be in passing..but we notice he’s checking them out carefully…

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  5. We started patching with C since she was 7 months old – about 11 months ago. Because we started when she was so young, we never really had a problem with her wanting to remove the patch (other than wanting to rub her eyes when tired). The patch we use goes over her glasses. She is used to having her glasses so she does not fight the patch.

    Currently, we wear the patch for no more than half her waking time. So, about 4 hours or so is how long she has the patch on. This is every day.

    I think that as C gets older, she may wonder why she has to patch so the other comments here are very helpful. Right now, she doesn’t notice that other kids don’t patch or that other kids don’t wear glasses. I suppose she’ll recognize that soon enough, and I wonder if she will start refusing to wear a patch (or glasses). I’m not sure how it’ll be if she has to wear a patch whenever she starts preschool or grade K.

    Because we started C on a patch when she was young, I don’t have too many hints as C has been very good with keeping her glasses and her patch on. Let’s hope it stays that way!

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  6. My daughter, Katherine, is 4 1/2 and she has been patching for around 7 months. We initially started out patching around 2 to 3 hours a day, and she really struggled with this. I’m assuming this was partly because it was new, but also because it wasn’t very structured (my fault).

    When we didn’t see a lot of improvement, our opthamologist suggested eye drops. We both really disliked the drops! Her eye was dilated as a result and extremely sensitive – and, again, we didn’t see much progress.

    Now we are patching approximately 8 hours a day and finally seeing progress. 🙂 Although she doesn’t like the patch, she knows that it is helping her see better and as a result she is doing much better with it. While she does get comments (are you a pirate? what’s wrong with your eye? etc.), she has gotten to the point of explaining about her “bad eye” (her words) and how she is strengthening it with her patch. I’m so thankful that there are wonderful products available online that have made the process of patching easier.

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  7. Hello! The best patches for kids are the opaque adhesive patches.. you can find fun patterns or you can get the nude color ones. These are best for children so they can’t take it off as easily and if you do the patches on glasses they will surely tilt their glasses so they can see out of that eye or the ones with elastic . If your child experiences irritation, try putting down medical tape first around the area (it doesn’t hurt as much when you take off the sticky) and place the patch on top of that. You have to take patching seriously when kids are young b/c the younger they start the therapy, the better and easier the results. Patching is usually either 2 hours or 6 hours per day. If you cannot get your child to keep the patch on, you can also try a drop of atropine as prescribed by your doctor. A website with patches is http://ortopadusa.com/. Hope that helps!!

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  8. We’ve been patching since DS was about 2.5 yo – we’re now at 2 hours/day whereas we started w/ 5 h/d (as I recall). DS is now just over 4 yo. We’ve explained to him about patching the strong eye to make the weak eye work more and get stronger – he will give this explanation to a child who asks about the patch. Since we only have 2 hours to do now, I try to do it at home and not when we are out (since wearing it out pretty much guarantees conspicuousness).

    I try to give him as much power over decision making as I reasonably can – do you want to put your patch on in the morning and get your time in, or in the afternoon? You may have to wear it to the park if you choose afternoon. / What pattern would you like today?

    I also talk about our PO’s assistant who checks us every couple of months, and how pleased he will be that we are patching as we should, or how he’ll be disappointed if we don’t get our time in today, etc.

    HTH!

    Andie

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  9. We patched my daughter at around 1 1/2 years old for a few months, and are now having to do it again for 3 months, just for 2 hours a day. She was beginning to use her left eye more again, after a big improvement following the initial patching when she was younger (She is almost 3, and is farsighted with strabismus).
    One thing that has been helpful for us was buying some cute patches (she is a total girly-girl) and letting her choose between them. She has some with teddy bears, one with ballet slippers, and one with a pink heart that says LOVE- this one is her favorite. When we tell her, “It’s patch time. Choose what patch you want to wear”, I think it gives her a sense of control while firmly stating that she MUST wear her patch. She’s been really great about it so far, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the next few months.

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