Patching is a technique used to treat AMBLYOPIA which is sometimes called ‘lazy eye’. Amblyopia develops when one eye is used more than the other. This causes the other eye’s vision to be weak or poor. Some of the causes of amblyopia are misaligned eyes (strabismus), unequal focus between the eyes (refractive errors) or other abnormalities preventing the normal development of vision in one eye. Often there are no clues to parents that amblyopia is present.
Patching the good eye forces the use of the weak eye and encourages the development of better vision.
Glasses may be prescribed to treat any focusing problems, but patching may still be required to treat the amblyopia. Surgery cannot correct amblyopia, and even though it may be performed to straighten the eyes, patching may still be required before and/or after surgery.
If amblyopia is not treated, it may result in a permanent and serious visual loss in one eye, it may affect depth perception, or it could result in a lifetime of poor vision if the good eye becomes diseased or injured. This will cause a life-long issue for the child.
Patching is sometimes also prescribed to help children control drifting eyes even when the vision is equal.
©2008 Riecke, OC(C). This was reprinted with the permission of Jillian Riecke, CO.