Patching in the Pre-K

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who left kind words and advice on my last post.  It really meant a lot to me.

Zoe started patching at daycare the same day that she moved from the preschool room to the pre-kindergarten room.  When I emailed the daycare center the day we learned she’d start patching, the director called and asked if I thought we should delay Zoe’s move to the pre-k room until she’s done patching.  I couldn’t think of anything worse to do – she’d been looking forward to moving to the next room with the big kids, and telling her we were delaying because of patching is a sure way to make her really resent patching even more. We decided to patch first thing in the morning, so that we could put the patch on, and her teacher would only need to take it off later that morning.

Zoe’s been using Ortopad patches that the ophthalmologist’s office provided us.  They’re the boy patches, but so far, Zoe hasn’t minded the patterns.  We also got one of the Ortopad patch posters – it’s a fish, and each patch is one of the fish’s scales.  One of Zoe’s concerns was how to get her patches home from daycare to put on the poster.  So I made her a “patch card.”  I folded a piece of construction paper in half, and cut the middle out of one of the halves.  Then I cut a piece of parchment paper (used in baking) to fit inside and stapled it together.  (I tried gluing it first, but the glue wouldn’t stick.)  She takes the card to daycare, and when she’s done patching, they put the patch on the parchment paper.  The patch easily comes off the card once we’re home and Zoe puts it on the poster.

Zoe's patch card for taking her patch home from school.

I also sent a page of instructions along with Zoe on that first day of her patching.  I know that it was probably unnecessary (her teacher has had at least one other boy who patched in her class), but I couldn’t help myself.  Here’s what I sent:

  • Zoe needs to wear her patch until 11 am each day.  We’ll keep an extra couple of patches in her cubby box in case the patch falls off.
  • While she’s wearing her patch, she can’t see quite as well, though she’s been able to pretty much do all her normal activities.
  • When she’s done patching, it’s easier to take off the patch if you use a damp washcloth/paper towel to get the edges wet.  Pull the patch off from the inner corner of the eye out.  It still hurts a bit.
  • Save the patch on Zoe’s patch card.  We’ll take it home each evening to put on her patching chart.

It’s gone well so far, she said one boy laughed at her the first day, but no other reports of that happening.  Mostly she seems annoyed that the kids all think she’s hurt her eye when she’s wearing the patch.  I’m guessing that mostly comes from the young toddlers (they all start out in the same room together) who don’t understand the explanations they’re given.

Her teachers have also been asking how many days she needs to patch for.  I’m stumped on that one.  Her next appointment is after 6 weeks of patching, and I’d love for that to be all she needs, but I know that it may not be.  Anyone have good tips for managing expectations for the follow-up appointment – both with Zoe and with others who ask about it.  I want her to feel that her efforts are worth something, but I also don’t want her feeling crushed if she needs to patch longer.

8 responses to “Patching in the Pre-K

  1. We’ve eliminated any expectations, at least as far as teachers go, by avoiding setting any end dates. Patching is ongoing/indefinite as far as that is concerned, and quickly became part of the routine as far as preschool goes. Nicky comes in with the patch on, it comes off after lunch and round and round it goes. As far as his expectations, we’ve tried to steer toward focusing on the achievement of the moment…and vaguer long term goals. We couch the appointments as progress checks to assess improvement rather than as a potential end date. … “Dr says your eye is getting stronger..” “getting stronger, but he would like you to keep wearing it to help your eye get even stronger”, etc. I like to think that as he ages he’s becoming more self aware of the benefit of patching. After a while, the process will become part of the daily routine.


  2. hi,
    whenever we are due for an eye check, i prepare a present and bring it to the clinic to give to his PO when my son is distracted. (am in cahoots with my p.o) my son receives the present from his doctor for being such a good sport about patching. Am not sure why ,but my son really loves receiving presents from his PO.Once, i wrapped up a box of orthopads and he loved it all the same. haha. And thats why he looks foward to every eye appt with his doc. 😉

    whether theres an end date .. well , patching in this house is like eating breakfast, routine . so we don’t really think much about it.


  3. Ann – With Emma we really didn’t talk end date either. She knew she wasn’t going to have to wear the patch forever but she was going to have to wear it until her eye was strong enough without it. As I mentioned earlier, at some appointments she made progress and at some appoitments she stayed the same. But her PO and the technicians were always very positive and complimentary on her efforts as was I -the focus was always on how well she was doing not that she had to keep patching. We would bring in her patch posters or sticker charts to show them how much she had been patching and they always loved to see them….and it usually meant a special trip to the office Treasure Box for her!

    We knew going into it that patching would be something that wasn’t going to be over in a couple of months. I felt as though Emma’s PO was agressive with treatment but conservative when it’s time to stop….we spent 6 months slowly reducing her patching hours and making sure her vision was holding.

    It’s overwhelimg now, but trust me, after a while it really will just become part of the day. Hang in there… = )

    Oh – we had the fish poster too! It was Emma’s favorite one and everyone in her PO’s office thought it was neat. Emma said it reminded her of the Rainbow Fish (from the book….)


  4. I’m sorry that I don’t have any patching advice to offer as i don’t have any experience with it (My little guy’s eyes are terrible, but equally terrible!) Anyway, I just wanted to say that I am thinking of you and Zoe and wishing you nothing but the best and hope you can finish patching soon!


  5. Thank you for sharing your patching journey. Our daughter is just about 2 1//2 and has been in glasses for about a year. Just this week at our routine checkup we were told to start patching 4 hours a day. Not that we were surprised by this but maybe just hoping we would someohow be able to avoid it (LOL). Your adventures & suggestions along with all the other wonderful comments have made me rest easy that we too will be able to get into this new routine.


    • Thanks Doreen! We also had hoped to avoid patching – made it 3 years with just glasses and no patching. I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see how quickly it’s become part of our routine – just as everyone said. And I love having this community here with it’s support and advice.

      Good luck to you and your daughter and keep us posted on how it goes.


  6. Good luck Zoe with the patching! Belle really liked seeing the picture of you wearing your patch – you look great!

    I love the idea of the patch card to travel with the patches! Good work, Ann!

    The patching can be tough at times for both me and Belle but it has gotten so much easier and is just a part of “life” now. Looks like you are off to a great start.

    If Zoe would ever like to receive some decorated patches in the mail from Isabelle just drop me an email, she would love to send a few off to Zoe. Belle has enjoyed receiving patches in the mail and gets excited about her friends who patch. I know she is a little older than Zoe, but know that if you ever have any ?s you can ask away!!!



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