Amblyopia: Wearing an Eye Patch
What is an Actionset?
Amblyopia is a vision problem that occurs in a child when one eye is not used enough for the visual system in the brain to develop properly. This leads to poor vision in the affected eye.
Amblyopia is usually treated by an ophthalmologist.
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Treatment with an eye patch corrects amblyopia by training the brain to use visual signals from the eye with weaker vision. This encourages the brain to process what that eye sees. It helps build a stronger connection between the brain and the weak eye and allows vision to develop normally in that eye.
If your child must wear a patch, the doctor will tell you when and for how long. Stay on the schedule. Try to prevent your child from taking off the patch or looking around it. Wearing a patch can be difficult and uncomfortable, especially for young children. They may be confused or afraid about wearing the patch, and other children may tease them.
By giving direction, motivation, support, and reassurance, you can help your child comply with the patching treatment so that he or she can develop the best vision possible. Do this by telling your child why the treatment is needed and giving him or her clear guidelines on when and how long he or she must wear the patch. Encourage the support of family, friends, teachers, and classmates.
Test Your Knowledge
You can help your child wear the eye patch by:
Letting your child choose his or her own schedule for wearing it.
Providing motivation, support, and reassurance.
To be effective, an eye patch must be worn as your doctor directs and for the full time period. It is important for you to help your child comply with the patching treatment so that he or she can develop the best vision possible. Not wearing the patch as directed is the major cause of failure in the treatment of amblyopia.
Early treatment for amblyopia can usually reverse the condition. Treatment is best started before age 6 and should begin before your child's vision has fully developed, which is around age 9 or 10. In general, the younger the child is when treatment begins, the better his or her chances are for having good vision.
Test Your Knowledge
Patching treatment for amblyopia is most effective when:
Your child wears the patch according to the schedule given by your doctor.
Treatment begins before your child's vision has fully developed.
The main reason that patching treatment for amblyopia fails is:
The brain learns to use visual signals from the eye that has weaker vision.
The child or parent does not comply with the doctor's directions on when to wear the patch and for how long.
Help your child understand why the patch is needed. Reward, support, and reassure your child. This will help your child comply with the patching treatment so that he or she can develop the best vision possible.
Here are some of the things you can do to help your child wear the patch and to help make the treatment more effective.
The more your child and the people around him or her know about the patching as a treatment for amblyopia, the more successful the treatment is likely to be.
Set clear ground rules
Set clear guidelines and establish realistic expectations for wearing the patch. These will help you and your child avoid a power struggle or a battle of wills over wearing the patch. Your child will probably do better if he or she understands when and how long the patch must be worn.
Wearing a patch can be difficult and uncomfortable. By giving support and reassurance, you can help your child comply with the patching treatment.
Try to have some fun
Wearing an eye patch is not enjoyable. But there are some things you can do to make the times your child is wearing the patch more fun and to help make the treatment more effective.
Make the weak eye work
Patching treatment for amblyopia will be more effective if your child's weak eye has to work harder while the normal eye is patched. Games and activities that require visual acuity and eye-hand coordination work well.
Help reduce irritation
Patches may irritate the skin around the eye and may cause a light rash. Patches on elastic bands may rub because they move more freely than adhesive patches. Adhesive patches are preferred because they cover the normal eye more completely. But adhesive patches may also irritate the skin. Talk to your doctor if your child gets an irritation or skin rash.
Test Your Knowledge
Using a timer, clock, or calendar to keep track of when and how long your child wears the patch is helpful because:
Your child will know when and how long the patch needs to be worn.
It distracts your child from thinking about the patch.
Your child should avoid activities that make the affected eye work harder while the normal eye is patched.
Now that you have read this information, you are ready to help your child wear an eye patch to treat amblyopia.
Talk with your doctor
If you have questions about this information, take it with you when you visit your doctor. You may want to mark areas or make notes where you have questions. Your doctor may have additional suggestions on how you can help your child to wear the eye patch.
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