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Why does your child need a patch?
It has been found that your child has reduced vision in one eye (amblyopia, also sometimes known as a ‘lazy eye’). There are many reasons why vision may be reduced in one or both eyes, but two
common causes are:
1. Squint – a turn in one eye.
2. Glasses – when the prescription (strength of the lenses) is different in each eye (anisometropia). Glasses should help the eye/s to focus properly and this alone may improve the vision. However, sometimes glasses alone aren’t enough and patching (occlusion) may also be required. Patching involves covering the eye with better vision for a set time on a regular basis. This allows the lazy eye to work completely alone. In most cases this stimulation should result in an improvement in vision.
The Orthoptist will advise you how much patching your child needs to do and will check their vision regularly. They will also advise you about any changes that are necessary to your patching regime. In most children patching will improve the vision to some extent. However the final vision achieved may not reach the same level as the “good” eye.
How to wear the patch
There are 2 types of patches, those that can stick to the face and fabric patches that can slide over glasses.
• The patch must be worn on the face, with no gaps that allow peeping.
• Glasses must be worn over the top of the patch.
• These patches are hypoallergenic so your child should not react to them but, if they do, then please contact the Orthoptic team.
• Fabric patches are worn with glasses and they must be fitted properly to ensure there is no cheating.
It is important to remember:
• A lazy eye (amblyopia) will not get better on its own.
• Wearing the patch will not improve any squint your child may have (i.e. it will not straighten the eye).
• It is important to try and adhere to the patching treatment that your child has been advised to do. If you are finding it difficult, please speak to a member of the Orthoptic team who may be able to provide helpful suggestions.
• A lazy eye cannot be corrected in adulthood.
• A lazy eye cannot be corrected by having an operation or laser surgery.
Hints & Tips for patching
• To achieve the best results try to encourage close work activities e.g. reading, colouring, small Lego whilst wearing the patch. The use of tablets / iPads / or other electronic games can also be helpful.
• Be careful to supervise your child whilst wearing a patch if they have very poor vision in the ‘lazy eye’.
• Patching time is just as effective, and may be easier, if divided throughout the day (e.g. 4 hours total may be easier if 2 hours are done each morning and afternoon).
• Sometimes patching is easier when carried out at Nursery / School, as the child is distracted and a routine can be established. Discuss with the person in charge about how much patching to do and for how long. Ask them to feedback to you if it is not going well.
• Swimming armbands can be placed on the elbows of babies and infants to stop them bending their arms and pulling the patch off!
When will patching be stopped?
Patching will usually be discontinued if the vision has not shown any further improvement after 3 consecutive visits despite consistent patch wear.
• Patching will usually be stopped around the age of 7/8 years when the visual system has matured. However, in some instances (if patching was started late) it may continue beyond this age.
Your child has been advised to wear a patch on their:
Right / Left Eye
For hours per day
If you need more patches then please telephone the Orthoptic department and we can send them to you. If leaving a message on our answering machine, please state your child’s name and hospital number (MRN) or their date of birth. We also need to know if they are using the regular or junior size patches.
For further information contact:
If you have any questions regarding your child’s patching treatment, you can either ask the Orthoptist at your next visit or you can telephone:
Eye Clinic Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Standing Way Milton Keynes MK6 5LD
Tel: 01908 995532