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Patch party to help children's eye development a great success

21 April 2016
A fun-filled ‘patch party’ for kids who have eye development problems has been a great success.

More than 20 young patients from CUH’s orthoptic clinic attended a party on 21 April in the garden room of the Deakin Centre to help them get used to wearing patches over their eye.

Children who are undergoing patching treatment for amblyopia, more commonly known as lazy eye, often feel uncomfortable because they might be the only in their class wearing a patch.  The treatment involves wearing a patch over the eye that sees better to promote the use and development of the other eye. Whilst wearing the patch over the ‘good eye’, the child’s vision is reduced, particularly at the beginning of treatment. This can make the treatment very challenging for children and their families.

The party provided the opportunity for parents to support each other and share their tips for patching but also gave the children an opportunity to see others wearing eye patches and to normalise patching, by being part of group where everyone was wearing one. 

To help with the party the local charity Cam Sight came along with some craft activities. They shared information about the support that the charity can offer with the parents.

Deborah Mullinger, CUH orthoptist, said:

“We had a visit from Rosie Rabbit and Brooke Bear, the Addenbrooke’s Charitable Trust mascots, who also wore special eye patches for the event. The children enjoyed a teddy bear’s picnic lunch and we organised a number of activities including playing with bubbles, parachute games and a treasure hunt. We were treated to a visit from the laughter specialists who sang songs and played games with the children.

“Overall the party was a great success and we received lots of encouraging and positive feedback. Parents felt that the party had helped their child with wearing the patch as it made it more normal and they felt that the party will have increased their child’s compliance with patching treatment. “

The clinic sees approximately 5000 children a year.