Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)

Toy dog wearing glasses with patch for lazy eye

Lazy eye is when the brain favors one eye as vision develops in infancy and early childhood leading to decreased or loss of vision in one or both eyes. Both my daughter and I have lazy eye, which I now know tends to run in families. As much planning as I had put into my pregnancy, birth and care of my daughter, I hadn’t thought at all about my lazy eye and the potential of passing it onto the next generation. The Mister had joked that his offspring would be born already wearing glasses because of his severe nearsightedness but neither of us had made any cracks about my lazy eye that wanders and sometimes make strangers think I’m staring at them out of the corner of my eye and strike up conversation.

ortopad eye patches - outer space

The brain may unconsciously favor one eye over another for example if there is a muscle imbalance between the eyes affecting tracking coordination or if vision in the two eyes are significantly different. My lazy eye is from muscle imbalance. My daughter’s lazy eye is most likely from having much more astigmatism in one eye. There are other reasons as well such as limited vision in one eye due to cataracts.

Sometimes signs of lazy eye may be obvious like a wandering eye as in my case, or that the eyes do not appear to be aligned, but lazy eye may not be apparent without an eye exam as in my daughter’s case.   According to the Mayo Clinic, all children between 3 and 5 should have a complete eye exam.

Depending on what is causing lazy eye, it may be corrected with some combination of glasses, contact lens, eye patches, eye drops or surgery. The earlier treatment is started, the better, so I really regret not taking my daughter in for more comprehensive vision testing sooner.

TREATMENT:   GLASSES FOR LAZY EYE

My daughter was prescribed glasses to correct her astigmatism in the weaker eye. The hope was that in correcting the vision imbalance, she might begin using both eyes equally.

She has a small head so we had trouble finding glasses with a proper fit. Most frames have three numbers printed on them; lens width, bridge width and temple arm length in millimeters.  I found a useful infographic online so I put it at the bottom of this post in the resource section.

blue and pink glassses with hearts

We ended up going to 7 different optical stores and was considering buying the frames online when she suddenly said “those ones” and pointed to these pink and blue frames while we were still outside the final store. I thought I heard music in the air.

blue and pink glassses with hearts

While these frames weren’t covered by our insurance and they were a little large, we felt that her liking the glasses was most important for two reasons. First, to increase the likelihood she would wear them and second, to minimize the risk of her taking them off and abandoning them somewhere.

Please note that while this post is NOT sponsored, there are some affiliate links in this post.  These were just products we had success using and wanted to review and share for information purpose.  I am not giving any kind of education or medical advice (I won’t know what’s what).  Please consult your health care provider (pediatrician, physician or ophthalmologist or optician etc.) for diagnose, treatment and medical advice.

ANTI-SLIP NOSE PIECES

Since the frames were a tad large for her tiny face, and it did not have a nose piece, we got these sticky pads for the bridge to help with the fit. It doesn’t look good but she says it’s more comfortable and the glasses slide down less often so I would say they work well.

NosePiece

These came in a 10 pack so I took two for my glasses since I always have a problem with them sliding down my nose too, and I agree, they are comfy.  I am oily so I might need to use a new pair every few weeks.  They have a sticker on one side so they are easy to stick onto the glasses and I was able to reposition them several times until I got the fit right.  Unfortunately that mean it is uneven on the glasses.

NosePiece2

Silicon nose Piece

 

CHUMS

The optician had highly recommended chums to help minimize losing the glasses since she is only three. There are some days where she keeps taking them off but in general she is good about keeping them on because they do help her see better. She loves the chums however because it helps distribute the weight of the frames from her nose and ears to her head and it keeps the glasses from sliding down her nose.

Kids Chums

They come in so many colors and patterns but I choose the two pack in blue because it was a good value and my daughter’s favorite color is blue (in addition to pink and green).

navy blue chums

ANTI-SLIP SILICONE GLASSES RETAINERS

Some chums reviewers noted the chums were hindering their kids from taking off their glasses and putting them back on (e.g. to wipe their face during a sports game) and so I also purchased these rubber ear pieces as well in case the chums prove too much of an obstacle.   But since she seems happy with the chums, I never tried them on her glasses. I put them on mine and love them since my nose is relatively flat and my glasses tend to slide down so I will order a larger size in clear for me.

AntiSlipEarPiece

 

A LITTLE BAD NEWS

Often times, the proper treatment will improve vision in only weeks or months. However, despite 6 weeks of diligence wearing her glasses constantly, her weaker eye still appears to be weaker and so we have started patching for 6 hours a day.

TREATMENT:   PATCHING FOR LAZY EYE

Patching is when the stronger, good eye is covered, encouraging the use of the weaker eye to stimulate it. Her follow up visit is in 6 weeks and I am hoping for the best. Luckily she is still having a good sense of humor about all this and walking around saying “I’m a pirate, argh, shiver me timbers” which comes out as “argh, shiver my tumbers” half the time and cracks me up. I love her.

Baby Pirate

Photo Credit: Katrinaelena

ORTOPADS

We are currently using the medium sized glitter Ortopads but since she will only wear the blue mermaids, and with enough persuasion, the green lady bugs, the rest are mine to wear just to keep her company.  The patches come to around $0.40 each, so that’s not an ideal scenario.

Mermaid and Ladybug

The ophthalmologist’s office gave us these three on the most recent visit and she liked and wore all three styles.  They were waaaaaaaayyyyyy less sticky too so they was much easier to remove.  The problem is I haven’t been able to find them for purchase.

ortopad eye patches - boys

So I just ordered these (non-glitter) ones with the hopes she will like more than just one pattern out of the whole box.


Oh boy, it is tiring when forcing the weaker eye to work. I get nausea too. After just a few hours I feel like I’ve been working out so I give my daughter extra hugs and kisses for being such a trooper. I noticed quickly that my daughter’s depth perception is slightly off and her peripheral vision is poor when her good eye is covered. For example, she might stick her spoon of food into her cheek by accident or clip the door frame when walking through the doorway, so I make sure I hold her hands when we go up or down the stairs.

3 PATCHING TIPS:

I wanted to share three tips that I had picked up and used with some success from Amazon reviewers:

  1. Stick patch on the back of your hand first to reduce it’s stickiness. I do this every time for my daughter’s patch but it still ends up stuck on tight by the end of the day.
  2. Remove patch after baby or child is asleep. I hadn’t planned to use this since my daughter has enough trouble falling asleep as it is and I do not want to risk waking her, mad at me, but one night she fell asleep with the patch on so I removed it while she was asleep.         Amazingly she didn’t wake and barely flinched so on the nights she is willing to sleep with the patch on, I wait until she is asleep to remove it. It saves all of us some tears and grief.
  3. Use oil or Vaseline to help lift the edges and reduce the patch’s stickiness for removal. I need to use oil or Vaseline to rub around the patch’s edges before she would let me remove the patch.

OrtoPad sticker eye Patches for Lazy Eye

AMBLYOPIA EYE PATCHES FOR GLASSES FOR KIDS

I also got these patches to place over her glasses frames. It came 6 in a box but other than accidently losing some, I’m not sure why we need so many since they seem perfectly reusable even if very flimsy.  The unwrapped patch in the picture has been reused for days and had been put on, taken off, put on, taken off numerous times and despite a few wrinkles, still looks and works fine for us.  I guess they could get dirty easily or get lost.

Lazy Eye Patch for Glasses

I’m not sure why some of the reviewers said it was hard to put on the glasses but because my daughter’s frames are small, it only takes me seconds and so I find these eye glasses patches very convenient.


The ophthalmologist had recommended the sticker patches over the glasses patches so my daughter won’t be able to peek or cheat but I got the glasses patches anyways so that when we’re out and about, I can easily use these to maximize her patched time.  For example, I can just pop these on her glasses for the car ride and then take them off at the destination whereas I can’t quickly remove the sticker patches from my daughter’s face because it hurts her. I can rip the patch off my face with no problem but she is still young and the skin around her eye area is extra sensitive.   She is also probably not oily like me so instead of the patch coming lose over time as my patch does, her patch seem to get more stuck as the day wears on.

blue eye patch for glasses

Here is my daughter’s toy dog baby modelling her glasses.  Despite how cool all the different patches look, I really hope she doesn’t need to be patched any longer than the 6 weeks.

Toy dog wearing glasses with patch for lazy eye

References and for additional information, check out these links:

Mayo Clinic: Lazy Eye Basics

Medical News Today: Lazy Eye (Amblyopia)

Rehealthify: (YouTube video) Amblyopia Causes, Symptoms, Treatments & More…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4pXMjqs12o

Zenni Optical has a cool infographic on how to understand frame sizes:
What Are The Best Eyeglasses For Your Face Shape? - Infographic

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