When your kid gets diagnosed with amblyopia, you have a course of action that has been proven to work in order to improve the vision in the healthy, yet lazy eye. You should be happy it’s not just bad vision, since you have an opportunity to fix the faulty eye if your kid is young enough. Unfortunately for us, our daughter was not diagnosed until age ten, so we will have to work a little harder in order to achieve the desired results.
You may need to ask your eye doctor about whether or not amblyopia is what’s happening in your kid. Since I started writing this article, and after moving from the KC Metro to Jacksonville, I believe there are plenty of eye care specialists who are more concerned with selling glasses than helping people. That’s sad, but you don’t have to be the parent who allows it to happen to your kid. If your child is diagnosed with a very weak prescription, and one eye doesn’t even need correction, there’s a decent chance you can work to fix the vision by patching rather than just wearing glasses.
As far as the patching itself. Our daughter used several cheap Halloween-type pirate patches and did the process after dinner each night. No special costs or actual tape or anything. Little kids and parents who like to have their kids show off medical issues might end up with a much more obstructive scenario. It kind of depends on age, hours needed, and the location that works best. I wasn't going to send my kid off to 5th grade with tape over one of her eyeglass lenses if I could help it. And I could.
My initial intent in writing this article was to provide some guidance for parents who have kids with a lazy eye. Instead, I’m here to tell you to make sure you ask if there are ways to improve vision in your kids, especially if they are young enough. About a year of patching resulted in my daughter not needing glasses, at least for now. Her new, old-school eye doctor still thinks she can wear glasses to somehow improve her vision, but I don’t tend to agree with him there. I saw her improve by patching religiously for about one year. Then barely need glasses, give up on patching, and improve even more the NEXT year.
Dr. Old School told her that any window for further improvement is now closing as she approaches puberty, and I think he’s right about that one. And she’ll probably end up needing glasses again in a few years, but it would be nice if she made it to high school like her old man did so that she could make her own decision about the modern self-inflicted torture known as contact lenses. I told her one more year of patching 30 minutes three times a week should be a goal, just to see if she can squeeze just a little more magic out of the process. And it HAS been almost magic, going from the doom and gloom of in-school eye testing all the way back to not really needing a prescription at all.