After one has been given the diagnosis amblyopia it is usually at the same outpatient visit that he or she has already been provided with the detailed instructions for treatment. The treatment somewhat varies on the etiology of amblyopia and consists of patching, penalization, corrective glasses, or vision training. Whilst corrective spectacles may sometimes be enough in certain types of amblyopia, and vision training is becoming more and more effective and more widely used, the gold standard for treatment is, and remains, eye patching.
The challenge eye care professionals and parents have is how to encourage kids to eye patch? We explore how to address this issue in this blog post.
Table of contents
- Patching for Amblyopia
- Start with Open Communication
- How to Encourage a Kid to Patch: Get Interesting Patches and Preferred Activities
- Lead by Example
- Gradual Integration
- Encourage Positive Reinforcement
- DIY Eye Patch for Lazy Eye: Make a Kid Eye Patch
- Consider AmbyoPlay as a Supplemental Treatment
- Conclusion : Encouraging Eye Patching in Kids
Patching for Amblyopia
One of the treatment options for amblyopia is eye patching. Having previously discussed exactly how important compliance to the prescribed treatment is, many parents experience genuine nightmares when their kids do not want to wear patches at all. Here are some tips on how to overcome that rebellion.
Start with Open Communication
Openly discussing the treatment with your child is vital to create a supportive environment. Explain why they need to wear an eye patch and the positive impact it can have on their vision.
Encourage them to ask questions and share their concerns. By involving them in the decision-making process, they will feel more empowered and engaged.
How to Encourage a Kid to Patch: Get Interesting Patches and Preferred Activities
Make it fun and engaging! You should get the patches that are made with a colorful design, preferably with motives that are close to your child. What is more, consider involving them in the selection of eye patches by allowing them to choose from a variety of colors, patterns, or designs.
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They should see it as a play not a sort of therapy. Make sure that the sound eye is completely covered and that there is no way for the child to peek around the patch, otherwise everything might be for nothing. Use those that are not too adhesive, otherwise, the kid will start to identify the patch with the pain when you remove it.
If your kid also wears glasses encourage them to wear them during patching – that way they will have slightly better visual acuity on the amblyopic eye when the sound eye is covered. Finally, offer them a preferred activity during patching – believe me, it is just impossible than to do the homework at the same time!
Lead by Example
Children often learn by observing their parents’ behavior. If your child sees you embracing the eye patching routine, they will be more likely to follow suit.
Demonstrate your support by wearing a matching eye patch or even using a sticker on your own eye. This act of solidarity can make your child feel less self-conscious and more motivated to wear their eye patch.
If your child finds it challenging to wear the eye patch for extended periods initially, start by incorporating shorter patching sessions and gradually increase the duration over time.
Begin with shorter intervals, such as 15 minutes, and gradually extend them as your child becomes more comfortable. By easing them into the process, it reduces resistance and helps them adapt to the new routine more smoothly.
Encourage Positive Reinforcement
Acknowledging your child’s efforts during eye patching can go a long way in boosting their confidence and compliance. Offer words of encouragement, compliments, or even small rewards to reinforce their commitment. Celebrate milestones and progress, emphasizing the positive impact their dedication is having on their vision.
DIY Eye Patch for Lazy Eye: Make a Kid Eye Patch
Creating a DIY eye patch for a lazy eye can be a fun and creative project. Involve your kid in this process if she or he enjoys creative projects.
Materials You Will Need
- Soft, breathable fabric (e.g., cotton or felt)
- Elastic band or string
- Fabric glue or sewing kit (needle and thread)
- Ruler or measuring tape
- Marker or pencil
Instructions for a Home-Made Eye Patch
- Measure and Cut: Start by measuring the size of the patch you’ll need. The patch should cover the eye with the lazy eye comfortably. Use a ruler or measuring tape to determine the dimensions of the patch.
- Cut the Fabric: Using the measurements from step 1, cut out a piece of fabric in the desired shape for the eye patch. The shape should be large enough to cover the eye adequately. Common shapes include ovals or rectangles with rounded corners.
- Creating the Elastic Strap: If you’re using an elastic band, measure the circumference of your kid’s head where the patch will be worn. Cut the elastic band to this length, adding a little extra for adjustability.
- Attach the Elastic Strap:
(a) Sewing: If you’re using a sewing kit, attach the ends of the elastic band to each side of the fabric patch using a needle and thread. Make sure it’s securely attached.
(b) Gluing: If you’re using fabric glue, apply a generous amount to one end of the elastic band and press it onto the backside of the fabric patch. Repeat this for the other end of the elastic band.
- Allow for Adjustability: Ensure that the elastic strap is not too tight. The patch should be secure but not uncomfortable. You can leave some extra elastic length on both ends to allow for adjustability as needed.
- Decorate (Optional): Your kid can add some personal flair to the eye patch by decorating it with fabric markers, fabric paint, or even adhesive stickers. Just ensure that any decorations don’t interfere with the comfort or functionality of the patch.
- Test and Adjust: Put on the eye patch and check how it fits. Adjust the elastic strap as needed for a snug but comfortable fit. The patch should cover the lazy eye completely without causing any discomfort.
- Wearing the Eye Patch: Wear the eye patch as directed by a medical professional. Typically, a lazy eye patch is worn for a specific amount of time each day, as recommended by an eye specialist.
Consider AmbyoPlay as a Supplemental Treatment
When your kid is done with patching for the day, though, offer them to play some interesting games available in our AmblyoPlay product to have some good time and simultaneously train their eyes an extra bit more.
Conclusion: Encouraging Eye Patching in Kids
Encouraging your child to embrace eye patching can be a challenging task, but with patience, understanding, and creativity, it is achievable. By explaining the importance of eye patching, making it engaging and fun, leading by example, gradually integrating the routine, offering positive reinforcement, or use innovative, fun tools such as AmblyoPlay, you can create an environment that promotes your child’s commitment to wearing the eye patch.