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Why is Eye Patching Important?

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Why is eye patching important?
Why is patching so important?

Amblyopia is an interesting disorder. On the one hand, it can be treated very easily and effectively, but on the other hand, if the treatment window is missed, there are only a few approaches that can lead to only minor improvements. The beauty of amblyopia treatment is the fact that as simple a therapy as eye patching usually does remarkably well.

How Does Eye Patching Work?

Within the critical period for the development of vision (up until age 8-10) eye patching is an important approach to deal with amblyopia.

Strabismus, anisometropia, or obstructions in the optical axis deprive the affected eye of healthy visual input. Gradually, the brain adapts and basically shuts down the signals coming from the affected eye, disabling the healthy development of the neuronal network in the part of the brain responsible for vision, which in turn leads to amblyopia.

This eventually leads to decreased visual acuity in the amblyopic eye as well as impaired stereovision. By covering the better eye for a few hours each day this process can be fully reversed in a matter of months and the healthy visual acuity of the amblyopic eye restored, provided that patching is done according to the eye care specialists’ instructions.

Who would think that an intervention as easy as covering the better eye for a certain amount of time brings the results so good? But indeed, it does.

Why is Eye Patching Important?

Promoting Visual Acuity: Training the Weaker Eye

One of the primary objectives of vision therapy is to optimize visual acuity, ensuring that both eyes work together seamlessly. However, individuals often face a scenario where one eye is stronger than the other. This imbalance can result in a range of visual issues, from blurred vision to difficulty focusing.

Eye patching becomes an useful tool in such cases. By covering the stronger eye, vision therapy directs the focus to the weaker eye, stimulating its neural pathways and encouraging it to develop strength and clarity. Over time, this targeted approach facilitates improved visual acuity, allowing individuals to perceive the world with greater clarity and precision.

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Addressing Amblyopia: The “Lazy Eye” Challenge

Amblyopia, commonly known as a “lazy eye,” is a condition where one eye does not develop normal visual acuity, often leading to a preference for the stronger eye. Eye patching is a key component in amblyopia treatment, as it compels the weaker eye to actively participate in visual tasks.

The patching technique aims to break the dominance of the stronger eye, compelling the brain to recognize and prioritize signals from the weaker eye. Over time, consistent eye patching helps overcome amblyopia, fostering a more balanced and cooperative relationship between the eyes.

Building Visual Resilience: A Lifelong Benefit

Vision therapy is not just about correcting immediate issues; it’s an investment in lifelong visual health. By incorporating eye patching into the therapy process, individuals not only address existing challenges but also build a foundation for sustained visual resilience. The strengthened neural connections and improved coordination achieved through eye patching contribute to a more robust visual system that stands the test of time.

Vision Training Aids Eye Patching

Admittedly there is a certain percentage of children in whom patching does not bring the results we all wish for. It may be due to poor compliance, type or severity of amblyopia, or some other reason. In these cases, or any other instance for that matter, it is well worth trying out a top-notch vision training solution such as AmblyoPlay.

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Why Do We Suggest a Minimum Time of 6 Months for Success?

Based on the data from over 15,000 patients using AmblyoPlay, improvements start within 4 months, while optimal results take anywhere between 6-18 months on average. The duration of required training depends on the patient’s age, the severity of the problem, accompanying diseases, and adherence to the training program.