With so much to focus on as a parent, it’s easy to take your child’s vision for granted. We usually assume our kids’ vision as long as they aren’t complaining or having obvious difficulties.
Then, they enter preschool or Kindergarten and begin having trouble seeing the board at school or telling the difference between letters of the alphabet. Your child’s teacher might report on your child squinting, rubbing their eyes, or seeming easily distracted.
Of course, you will need to make an appointment with your optometrist or a pediatric ophthalmologist. But this is when you should be aware of a vision condition affecting the eyesight of around 3% of all children — amblyopia.
Is Amblyopia the Same as Lazy Eye?
My oldest son Sawyer has been wearing corrective eyewear since the age of 18 months. It wasn’t until he was around 4 years old that he was diagnosed with amblyopia, commonly known as “lazy eye.” According to Medical News Today,
“Lazy eye is also known as amblyopia. Lazy eye is an early childhood condition where a child’s eyesight in one eye does not develop as it should. The problem is usually in just one eye, but can sometimes affect both of them.
“When a patient has amblyopia the brain focuses on one eye more than the other, virtually ignoring the lazy eye. If that eye is not stimulated properly the visual brain cells do not mature normally. In the USA and UK amblyopia affects approximately 2% to 3% of all children. It is the most common cause of partial or total blindness in one eye (monocular blindness) in the USA.”
Honestly, we weren’t surprised by our child’s amblyopia diagnosis given his regular vision screenings and need for corrective lenses since toddlerhood. We didn’t have to wonder about the cause of lazy eye either since we have a family history; both his father and myself having amblyopia. But we weren’t prepared for the challenge of tackling lazy eye treatments with our preschooler.
Treating Amblyopia: How Does Patching Work?
Sawyer’s pediatric ophthalmologist prescribed eye patching, one of the most common vision therapies for treating lazy eye. We were instructed to have our child wear an eyepatch over his stronger eye for two hours each day. When the dominant eye (the good eye) is covered with an eye patch, the brain is forces to rely on the uncovered weaker eye (misaligned eye) which strengthens and retrains the eye muscles and corrects eye alignment over time.
How long to use the eye patch depends on the severity of the child’s amblyopia which will be determined by your child’s optometrist or ophthalmologist. We were grateful to only have to patch for two hours per day. When I was a young child, my eye doctor prescribed eye patching for the entire school day. I remember my mom clipping an awkward black plastic eyepatch onto one of my glasses lenses each morning, right before putting me on the schoolbus. And, I also remember taking that ugly and embarrassing patch off as soon as the bus pulled out mom’s sight.
I know my mom isn’t the only parent or caregiver to have struggled with lazy eye treatments for their child. Not only does eye patching make a kid look and feel “different” from peers, but it can also cause uncomfortable physical side effects like headaches and fatigue.
This Kids Eye Patch for Lazy Eye tutorial contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosure policy.
So, when I learned Sawyer needed to wear an eye patch, I set out on a mission to make a homemade eye patch that was cool and more comfortable; one he wouldn’t mind wearing that might even be fun to wear! Here is what I came up with and how to make your own felt eye patch for your child…
How to Make an Eye Patch for Your Child
With just some basic sewing skills (either sewing machine or by hand), you can sew a simple custom eye patch using felt and fabric that slides right onto your child’s eyeglasses. The best part: you can choose fabric pattern according to your child’s interests or even take them shopping to pick out their own!
One you’ve chosen your felt and fabric, your child can help create the paper template. Have your child hold a piece of paper over their eye (the one that needs patching) allowing it to curve back to their ear. Then, with the eyeglasses positioned over the paper, trace the eyeglasses leaving about 1/2-inch border.
Cut the shape out of the paper, and then use this paper template to cut two pieces from felt and one from fabric.
Trim the fabric piece about 1/4-inch smaller than the felt pieces, then place it on top of one felt piece (right-side up) and sew around the edges.
Fold the fabric-and-felt piece in half where the eyeglasses hinge would be (according to the photo above), then sew about 1/4-inch in across each corner. Repeat with the other piece of felt.
Finally, sandwich the two pieces together with sewn-corners together, inside the sandwich, and then sew along the top and bottom of the pieces, leaving the ends open to slide onto the eyeglasses arm and lens.
How to Wear Eye Patch
This felt eye patch is made to slide right onto the arm and lens of your child’s eyeglasses with the corner pleats allowing it to curve at the eyeglasses’ hinge. Plus, the way it slides onto the glasses makes it harder for young children to remove and nearly impossible for them to lose altogether. Follow the guidelines of your doctor or optometrist in regards to how long to wear the eye patch.
Now, does this look like a kid who has confidence issues from eye patching? Not at all!
Now, Make Your Own Kids Eye Patch for Lazy Eye…
Kids Eye Patch for Lazy Eye
- With the child wearing their eyeglasses and a piece of paper carefully positioned behind the affected lens and temple, (from nose to ear), use a marker to trace a simplified patch shape around the lens and temple (arm).
- Cut on the traced line and use this shape as a template by pinning it onto felt and cutting around it. Repeat to cut one more out of felt and one out of fabric.
- Trim about 1/4-inch off the edges of the fabric shape so it is slightly smaller than the felt shapes.
- Place the fabric shape right-side-up onto one of the felt shapes and stitch along the edges using a zigzag stitch or blanket stitch.
- Fold the fabric/felt shape at the approximate location of the eyeglass hinge (fabric-side inside fold) and then sew across each corner about 1/4-inch in. Repeat with the other felt shape.
- Position the fabric/felt shape on top of the felt shape with all sewn-corners inside the sandwiched shapes, and straight-stitch 1/4-inch in along the top and bottom edges.
- Slide the eye patch onto the temple and lens of the eyeglasses.
Kids Eye Patch Tips and TricksA couple of tips to help ensure your child will actually want to wear their new homemade eye patch...
- Choose a fabric print in your child's favorite theme (e.g., trucks, dinosaurs, Disney) or let your child choose their fabric themselves.
- Make several eye patches at once while you've got the supplies out and you're in the groove; you'll want backups in case any get misplaced.
- Make various eye patches in different fabric patterns/colors to give your child a choice and feeling of empowerment.
- Use fabric scraps to sew a small eye patch onto your child's favorite doll or stuffed animal.
Like this Kids Eye Patch Tutorial? Save & Share It!
Don’t forget to save this blog post to come back to. And, share it with friends! Just click on the buttons at the top and bottom of this blog post or that appear when you hover over an image. Or, click on: Share on Facebook | Tweet It | Pin It | Email to a Friend
No Time to Make Your Own? Find Kids Eye Patches on Amazon:
See Worthy Snacks Adhesive Eye Patches (48/box)Astropic 2Pcs Eye Patches for Kids GlassesOpthopatch Kids Eye Patches (30/box + 10 Bonus + 3 Reward Chart Posters)eZAKKA Eye Patches for Kids (purple + pink)The Patch by Justina Chen HeadleyOrtopad Eye Patches for Boys (50/box)Patch Kid Eye Patches for Kids (50/box)Daisy’s Patch by Stephanie JonesHIDE&SEE Kids Eye Patches in Unicorn (50/bag)Cute Eye Patch Cat T-Shirt
Helpful Resources on Children’s Eye Patching for Lazy Eye:
- Less Eye Patch Time OK for Lazy Eye (WebMD)
- Using an Eye Patch for Amblyopia or “Lazy Eye” (SightMD)
More Parenting Tips from B-Inspired Mama:
- When Your Child Needs Glasses — Tricks from a Seasoned Mom
- Learning About Kids Vision Care and Charitable Giving
- Infantile Acne, Asthma, and Lazy Eye Never Looked So Good!
- 5 Simple but FUN Ways to Ensure Healthy Kids
Get MORE Creative Ideas + a FREE Gift!
Sign up for the newsletter to get MORE creative ideas and we'll send you a FREE gift - our Better Mama Day Planner Printable - right in your inbox TODAY!