Reader question: patching 24/7

Nicole just posted this question on the facebook group, and I thought I would post  it here in hopes that someone else may have experience or thoughts for her.

I am about to embark on full time eye patching of my 2 year old son, to see if we can gain some improvement of vision in his left eye, this needs to be done 24/7 for one full week. We then have to go for an appointment to the opthamologist and hopefully will see some improvement, as his vision is declining rapidly in his left eye. Not looking forward to this, prior patching for short durations has resulted in tantrums, pulling patches off, wrecking glasses and refusing to open his eye that isn’t patched. Has anyone been through a similar process and have any tips?

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10 responses to “Reader question: patching 24/7

  1. The longest that we’ve patched has been 8 hours at a time so the idea of 24/7 seems very overwhelming to me! I don’t have much advice to offer other than distract distract distract. Maybe plan lots of adventures and daytrips and keep him busy and forgetting about the patch. Good luck to you!

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  2. We did full time patching for two months with our daughter. She had just turned three at the time and had 20/100 vision in her left eye. We had tried everything else to improve her vision, but just did not have much success. Luckily, Ellie is my one daughter that will do pretty much anything I ask her to. It was rough for the first week at times as she would just beg me to take off the patch after a few hours, but each time I explained that we need to get her eye better, and we have to patch full time for a little while until her eye gets better. We did try to do a lot of different activities to keep her distracted. Once we got past the first week, she was just used to it, and did not mind it anymore. We went back for a check up after one month, and she had improved to 20/50. Our PO suggested to do another month. At the follow-up appointment after two months of full time patching and continuing vision therapy, her vision had improved to 20/40! We went from that to 6 hours of patching and got bifocals and successfully avoided having to have a second surgery. At our last appointment (six months after doing full time patching), our PO was so pleased that he told us not to come back for six months and continue patching 5 to 6 hours a day. This is the first time since she was born that we haven’t been at the PO every other month. Her vision is now equal in both eyes. It has been absolutely worth it! I know it is very tough to put your child through that, but if the end result means that one day, she can drive a car or fly an airplane (if that’s what she wants to do :-)), then it is so worth it! Hang in there! Being persistent is the hardest part! All the best to you!

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    • Thanks so much for your replies. So fantastic to hear other people’s sucess stories, it gives me more confidence in adhering to the full time patching, which we are starting on Wednesday. Funny that “Corrie” should mention about if it means he/she can drive a car one day, then it is worth it! This is what the opthamologist said to me last week. I know it is going to be extremely tough, as essentially my son will be getting about with a major diability for the week, as he only has 5-10% vision in the non patched eye. He is not the easiest of my children either, a big tantrum thrower and VERY determined. Other attempts at patching for short times have resulted in him breaking his glasses, pulling the patches off and refusing to open the eye. With full time patching, he will eventually have to open his eye I have been told! My opthamologist has suggested I splint his arms for a day or two, so he can’t pull it off, which does not make me feel comfortable. Thanks again for your responses, it makes me feel a lot better, knowing it has worked for others.

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  3. Wow, I can’t imagine my opthomologist recommending splinting my sons arms!

    With my son, we used a reward system. The Orthopad company has some great posters where kids can stick their used adhesive patches at the end of the day – ours is a fish where each patch becomes a scale. We had small daily rewards and then a large reward when the fish had gotten all its scales.

    You might also consider planning activities that don’t require him to see very well. Tactile things like play dough might distract him. Maybe going to the swimming pool. You can create an easy game by putting a bunch of different objects inside a box or paper bag and have him reach in and guess what the object is. This works well with blocks of different shapes to identify triangles versus circles, or even letters and numbers.

    Finally, we were unable to use the patches available at WalMart – the adhesive was very uncomfortable and left red marks. You might want to try another kind of patch. Good luck!

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    • Thanks for the advice, the swimming idea sounds great, as does your idea of tactile objects, I guess I will have to plan the days ahead with activities to distract him! Thanks again. : )

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  4. I guess since your son is only 2, doing a reward system is still kind of hard. We also had a patch tree and since the tree is all filled up in the meantime, we are now filling pages in a notebook, making new designs with the patches on each page. But you can do little rewards like a gummy worm or a popsicle, or reading a book just with you, just anything to bribe them toward the goal of seeing better. When we did full time patching, we used the framehuggers.com patches that attach to the glasses. They are very comfortable to wear and don’t cause any irritation to their skin. We are back to the myipatches.com sticky patches now as Ellie’s glasses were always sliding down with the other patch and then she was peaking over her glasses. 😦 Anyways, I know that it is hard, but you CAN do it!!! Hang in there, you will be surprised how much easier it gets once his vision starts to improve. All the best to you!

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  5. Well… we did 12 hour days for 6 months. I would recomend using as many friends as possible for playdates outside the home =) I found that the busier we were, the less she remembered she had a patch on. We do have her room as a safety zone and she is always allowed to go there and take off her glasses (that means the patch too) The first couple days she would try leave her room without the glasses and patch because it gets boring by yourself when everyone else is haveing fun outside (dance parties, popcorn and movies…) I would put her back in the room and tell her she needed to have glasses on before coming out. After a couple days it wasn’t really an issue.

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  6. We’re patching for six hours a day and my son is 5 so he can be reasoned with a bit. We discovered that his biggest motivator was access to our laptops or the iPad/iPhone for games. He knows he only gets to play if he’s patched and now he’ll run up to me with patch in hand and ask me to put it on! 🙂 Obviously he doesn’t get to play the whole time he’s patched but it’s incentive to get the patch on and then after his game time is up he’s been distracted and seems less bothered by wearing it. We asked his doctor about this and he said the up close play is really good exercise to strengthen his eye, too. Yesterday we realized he went an hour past time and we hadn’t noticed and he hadn’t complained. Hooray, progress! But since he’s older we’ve also been able to explain more about why he’s being patched and how it’s helping his eye become stronger. He’s clearly still frustrated at times by the patch but he’s now willing to read to me while patched and try things he wouldn’t before, like writing and drawing.

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  7. Me, again – back from our eye appointment and we now have to patch from wake up to bedtime. Before we’ve tried to plan our patch time around therapies, playdates, or most any outing to make it easier on him. Now that we need to keep him patched all day long we’ll be facing new challenges. Any tips?? How does your child respond to patching when at the park, doing sports (we have an adaptive PE class) or at storytime, playing with friends, etc? Suggestions?? Bennett sees 20/300 with this unpatched eye so I’m really concerned about how he’ll handle this when he’s outside our home/his comfort zone.

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