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The Eye Patch Project

Sunday, October 04 2015
Step Into An Eye Patcher's World

If you have an eye patcher in your life, you may become frustrated with the fuss they make when told "it's time to wear your eye patch". Have you ever wondered why they get so upset with you?  Try spending one morning with your child and wear an eye patch with them.  

At first, it is very disorienting and can make you feel dizzy, even sick to your stomach.  The feeling will go away after a few minutes if you calmly look around and slowly become more comfortable with your new view.  As you look around, you begin to feel vulnerable and realize half your world disappears.  You start twisting your head making sure you are not missing anything.  Shadows can catch you off guard and if someone enters your vision from your patched side it can actually startle you.  Try to go about doing your daily activities.  It's difficult, it's very difficult. 

Now think about your child.  Your child is actually patching their good eye.  So the eye they depend on for vision is now covered, and the "bad" eye their brain has been ignoring is the sole source of their vision.  That's rough.  We all need to remember this.  It may take days before you can build up to one hour of good eye patching.  Some kids are required to patch all day, take it slow. Eye patching is a challenge and these little kiddos are superheroes.  So when you get frustrated with the fuss your little one is making, take a deep breathe and give them some time to adjust, give a hug, or a high five.  They deserve a little extra patience and TLC.

Posted by: Cathy Thompson at Patch Pals AT 10:40 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Monday, September 28 2015
If you think your child might have an eye problem, don't wait, make an appointment!

When my son was a baby, his regular doctor thought he saw a fleck in his eye and recommended he see an eye doctor. The eye doctor said everything looked fine except he had an astigmatism in one eye and should be checked when he is older. When he was 3, he got his first pair of glasses. We were told he should wear them when he is watching tv, playing on his tablet, reading books, etc... but not to wear them during play. When he was 4, I started to notice that his eye with the astigmatism was starting to drift up and out when he was tired. Then it started happening more frequently and I called the eye doctor with my concerns. She didn't want to wait for our recheck appointment, so we brought him in right away. She had bad news for us. His "bad eye" (with the astigmatism) was much worse and had turned into a "lazy eye" that was also farsighted now. He could only read the big E on the eye chart with his bad eye and he was seeing double sometimes. 

When we were told he had an astigmatism in just one eye, we were just glad he was ok. We didn't know all the implications it would cause him in the future. After he turned 4, and we got the news that he had developed Ambloypia due to his Astigmatism and that his vision had gotten much worse. We were devestated, sad, and full of questions.

Our son use to constantly peek over the top of his glasses and he didn't like to wear them. It was a daily struggle. After a year of this, we let him pick a new pair of frames and then he never asked to take them off. Now our struggle is to find focus activities for him to do during patch time every day (1 hour). 

Always be proactive and do your research. If you think your child might have an eye problem, don't wait, make an appointment. Let your child help pick their glasses. Spend extra time shopping for them to make sure they are comfortable and it's VERY important to make sure the frames are large enough that they can't peek over the top. Try to make glasses and patching fun for them. We got our son transition lenses and we call them his "magic glasses" since the sun makes them turn into sunglasses.  He was so exited when I surprised him with a patch in his favorite color and with his favorite character on it!  Here is a photo of him.

Thank you for letting us share with you.

Tara Devine

Posted by: Tara Devine AT 11:29 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, May 21 2015
I Need A Patch For That Day

Take a few minutes today to celebrate eye patches.  Today, May 21st is the day where people all over the world will honor patches, today is "I Need A Patch For That" day.  So post your favorite eye patch photo and let everyone know you are celebrating!"I Need a Patch For That Day" holiday.  

"Some holidays are set up with the express purpose of ensuring that something we often take for granted or miss entirely receives the honour that it deserves.

I Need A Patch For That Day is a good example of that. Quite simply, it is a day in which we sit back and celebrate the humble patch in all its forms. You may be wondering what sort of patch is referred to, and the answer is that it is every single type of patch that you can imagine: from patches in clothes to nicotine patches, from software patches to patchwork quilts.

Do we really need a day to celebrate patches? Well, think about it. Every single day we take many little things for granted, even though we would often struggle without them. Think of I Need A Patch For That Day as an idea that helps us to appreciate those little things in life."

- www.DaysoftheYear.com

Posted by: Cathy Thompson at Patch Pals AT 12:27 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, January 02 2015
New Year, New Resolutions

The year 2014 is over.  A few of us accomplished our resolutions from last year, however many of us stumbled and did not do as well as we had hoped.  The beauty of a new year, is we all get a new clean slate.  A chance to start over.  A chance to exercise more, eat healthy, and be kinder to those around us.  If you have a child that wears an eye patch, now is the time to make new goals with their eye patching therapy.  Sit down with your child and download a new incentive calendar
 http://patchpals.com/calendar​ , decide which rewards will be given when they do a good job.  If your child is too young to understand, make a resolution for yourself to make eye patching a priority.  Eye patching works when you are committed to it.  Just like exercising, eating healthy, and being kind.  Think how gratifying December 31, 2015 will be when you can look at your child knowing you helped improve their vision. What a precious lifelong gift.

Posted by: Cathy Thompson at Patch Pals AT 06:32 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, September 23 2014
Recharge, Reboot, Recommit

Summer is officially over.  The crazy, hazy days full of swimming pools, baseball games, and searching for fireflies have come to an end. Trying to get your young child to wear an eye patch every day is not one of the summer activities you would list as "fun".  In fact many patching families get off track during the summer.  Schedules are turned upside down and children are either wet from swimming or sweat, which means keeping an eye patch on is a challenge.  If your eye patcher slacked a little this summer do not beat yourself up over it.  It happens.  Your family spent the summer enjoying it, recharging your batteries for the up coming school year of soccer practices, homework, and the craziness of life.  Good, that's what summer break is for.  But now is the time to push the reboot button on your child's eye patching therapy.  School is in full gear and a new calendar is printed.  As you are filling in each day with new activities don't forget to pencil in when your child needs to wear their eye patch.   Recommit yourself to focus on improving your child's vision.  If eye patching is a struggle for your little one, take some time to revise your strategy, create a new reward system, or maybe purchase some new eye patches to excite your child.  Do whatever it takes to make eye patching a priority.  Now is a perfect time to recommit because soon we will be counting down to the holidays, which again will add challenges to your already full hectic calendar.

Posted by: Cathy Thompson at Patch Pals AT 09:30 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, August 28 2014
The Ice Bucket Train

Throughout the month of August our crew here at Patch Pals has worked hard to bring awareness to an eye disorder named Amblyopia. We have mailed out information cards, given awareness bracelets to customers, and we've posted numerous photos of children wearing eye patches.  We have asked our Facebook followers and customers to join in on our effort to educate the world about amblyopia.  We have encouraged them all to use the hashtag #patchpower along with a photo or message about eye patching.

Since July 29th, there has been another movement occurring during the month of August bringing awareness to ALS.  ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.  This movement has been a huge success bringing in over 94 million dollars to the ALS Association in just one month.  Last year during the same time period they had raised 2.7 million.   Many celebrities, athletes, and politicians have videotaped their challenges as well as their reactions to having a bucket of ice cold water dumped on their heads.  It has been entertaining to see my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds filled with these videos as well as videos of my friends and family.  The whole campaign has been very successful and we are thrilled for ALS and hope that all the donations will help find a cure for this dreadful disease.  

What became clear during August 2014 is the potential of social media and how it can be a powerful tool used to educate and rally the world around a particular cause.  So many negative issues have been reported lately about social media.  Many worry about the abundance of narcissistic selfies out there or how social media can be used as a forum for bullies.  The workplace is also losing productivity because employees are spending time at work checking their Facebook pages.  This is not good. But after the past month I am excited and hopeful.  Good things can happen with social media and I hope everyone jumps on the ice bucket train.  

Please continue to post photos and messages about your eye patcher.  Flood your newsfeeds with them.  Continue to educate the public about Amblyopia.  Your efforts may stop an awkward stare or discourage bullying of a young eye patcher at school. We live in a time when one tweet by Ellen DeGeneres can be viewed by millions of people.  It's powerful.  Let try to use social media for good.

Amblyopia is a common eye disorder affecting one out of every 40 children.  The vision in the eyes is unbalanced.  One is focused and the other is not.  A child with amblyopia needs to wear an eye patch on the "good eye" so that the "lazy eye" can be exercised and strengthened.

Posted by: Cathy Thompson at Patch Pals AT 11:32 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, August 15 2014
Amblyopia Awareness Month

Have you ever seen a young child at the store or on the playground wearing an eye patch and wondered "What's up with the eye patch?" Did he injury his eye? Does he have an eye infection? Or maybe he is just pretending to be a pirate.  When we see a little one with a cast on an arm we are pretty sure it's because of a broken bone.  We ask "Oh, dear how did you break your arm?", we listen to their story and then offer encouragement to the child.  But for the young eye patcher a chance encounter with a stranger may play out differently.  
  Eighteen years ago we were told by an ophthalmologist that my 3 year old daughter Mackenzie needed to wear an eye patch.  He explained using unfamiliar and difficult to pronounce words that our daughter was legally blind in one eye.  He went on to say that the treatment for her blindness was to place an eye patch on her good eye.  "So wait, you are telling me that I have to put an eye patch on my 3 year old's good eye and force her to spend her day struggling to see with a legally blind eye."   His answer was in a stern and scary tone, "Yes, this is a very serious condition, however you can improve her vision if you commit to this treatment."  Well, I was determined to do everything possible to make this happen, after all I am "Supermom" right?  Mackenzie wore an eye patch everyday, all day, for five years.  Okay, maybe not everyday and most likely not all day, but we did it, she has 20/30 vision in her lazy eye.  The eye patching therapy worked!  What surprised me throughout the whole process though was how people reacted to seeing this little girl wearing an eye patch.   Some people were mean, others just stared, and a few even asked rude questions. I usually answered their questions kindly and tried to take time to educate them, but the negative attention did not help my daughter's self esteem.  
  
Fast forward to 2014 and it appears the world still does not understand why children wear eye patches because young mothers are encountering people who stare and make their little ones feel self-conscious wearing an eye patch. School is starting again and many eye patchers are fearful of being teased.  It's sad and unnessesary. They need to wear an eye patch to save their vision.  They need positive encouragement from friends and support from everyone.
  
August is Amblyopia Awareness Month and I am asking for your help educating the world about this serious eye condition. Amblyopia (am-blee-oh-pee-uh) is a common eye disorder affecting 3 out of every 100 children. The vision in the eyes is unbalanced. One eye is focused and the other is not. A child with amblyopia needs to wear an eye patch on the "good eye" so that the "lazy eye" can be exercised and strengthened.   If the condition is found early the child has a good chance of correcting the problem.  
If you encounter an eye patcher:

  •  give them a high five or fist pump 
  •  tell them good job eye patching 
  •  give them a quick smile
  •  let them know you are proud of them
  •  be kind to the child and parent  
  •  remember that eye patching is hard so if they are fussing be understanding
  •  Don't call the child a pirate (some don't want to be a pirate)
Posted by: Cathy Thompson at Patch Pals AT 09:49 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, June 26 2014

#13  UNITED WE STAND

The eye patcher will need positive feedback from every significant person in their life. Family members need to form a united front and consistently encourage the eye patcher every day. Any negative comments can be discouraging and may cause the eye patcher to give up or refuse to wear the eye patch.  If the child has siblings, it may be smart to have a firm discussion with them about teasing and let them know there will be consequences if they make bad comments to the eye patcher.  It's natural for brothers and sisters to tease but in this situation you really want to do your best to prevent it from happening.

Posted by: Cathy Thompson at Patch Pals AT 05:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, June 09 2014

#12 BE CONSISTENT

For eye patching to be effective, it needs to be done consistantly. Wearing an eye patch for one week and then taking a week off, is not the best way to see progress.  Pick a time during the day that works best for you and your child and stick with it.  Create a routine and it will soon become a habit.  The child might struggle at first but soon eye patching will become as routine as putting on their shoes on before leaving the house.  



 

Posted by: Cathy Thompson at Patch Pals AT 03:10 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, May 02 2014

#11 EYE PATCHES ARE COOL

When presenting the idea of wearing an eye patch to your child, try hard to put a positive spin on the situation.  When my daughter first wore her eye patch (it was a handmade eye patch that looked like a duck) she had lots of other little 3 year olds asking their moms at preschool if they could wear an eye patch.  Fortunately the moms played along with me when we let the toddlers know that not everyone gets to wear an eye patch, only a few special kids.  This statement of course made my daughter feel special and important.  Knowing that the other kids were envious made it a little easier to tolerate.  She loved choosing which eye patch to wear to match her mood or a special outfit.  Remember your positive or negative attitude influences your child.  Do your best to show some enthusiasm.  

Posted by: Cathy Thompson at Patch Pals AT 09:49 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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