How to Use a Patch to Strengthen an Eye

Amblyopia, commonly known as "lazy eye," is a condition in which one eye works harder than the other to gather visual stimuli and transmit these stimuli to your brain. It may be caused by visual alignment problems, or by differences between your eyes in the ability to focus, according to the website Prevent Blindness America. If left untreated, amblyopia can result in blindness in the weaker eye. Although some cases require corrective surgery, using an ophthalmic patch on the stronger eye may help mild or moderate cases of amblyopia.

Choose a patch that is large enough to cover your entire eye and block out all light. Adhesive eye patches, which stick to the skin around your eye, are the most common choices. However, some drug stores and specialty medical supply stores carry non-adhesive patches. If you wear glasses, choose a lens occluder, which fits over your eyeglass lens.

Place the patch over your stronger eye for at least two hours per day. Your doctor may recommend longer patching periods, depending on the severity of your amblyopia.

Practice reading with your weaker eye while wearing the patch over your stronger eye. Start with large-print books and magazines, and gradually work toward reading smaller print as the vision in your weaker eye improves.

Place posters, signs or other large-print materials on the opposite side of a room, 10 to 12 feet away. Practice reading these materials to help correct near-sightedness commonly associated with amblyopia.

Hold an object, such as a coin, in front of your eyes. Practice tracking or following the coin with your eye, as you move the coin horizontally, vertically or in a circular motion. Tracking may help strengthen the muscles in your weaker eye.

Tips

Involve your doctor when choosing and learning how to position your ophthalmic patch. He can help you choose a patch that fits well and provides comfort, while helping to correct the effects of amblyopia.

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