Vision Test

Updated on November 13, 2010
T.D. asks from Boston, MA
10 answers

Hi Everyone!
I took my 8 year old daughter for a professional eye exam because she had a hard time with the school eye exam. Turns out that she has perfect vision (20/20) in one eye and (20/40) in the other. The doctor prescribed glasses and patching the good eye every day for 2-4 hours a day to prevent the week eye from becoming a lazy eye. Has anyone else ever experienced this...wondering, does she really need glasses since we are strengthening the weak eye by patching the good eye everyday and that good eye is perfect vision. Thanks!

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answers from San Diego on

You can make the bad eye worse if you're not correcting it by straining it. My son has glasses (he's almost 7). His eyesight isn't too bad, just enough. The last time we had him tested after getting his glasses his eyesight was actually improving. Their eyes are still growing and changing right now so if you correct things early you can often reverse any issues. We were told it was possible my son may not need glasses in a couple years.

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answers from Dallas on

Yes, she still needs glasses. My daughter has to patch and wears glasses. She has since she was 18 months old. She is being treated for amblyopia and strabimus, she's not four yet and has had eye surgery as well. I am very well versed in patching, glasses and have been through it all - still doing it.

The patching will not likely make the vision in that weaker eye stronger -- it is to strengthen the muscles and make the brain USE that eye. You patch to force the brain to develop that neuropathways, use the eye and strengthen the ocular muscles.

Your doctor should have explained this better for you. What happens when one eye is weaker then the other is the brain starts to ignore it. Your daughter is nearing an age where her eyesight will be permanent, if her brain is ignoring that eye she could lose depth perception... essentially the brain stops taking the signal from the weaker eye and becomes "blind" in that eye. Patching is to prevent THAT, not to make the eyesight stronger. (Though its not impossible that exercises and patching could help the sight some, its not the reason for patching)

Read up on Amblyopia and Strabismus.

Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

If your eye sight is bad you make it worse by not correcting it so yes she needs to wear them. My eyesight is horrible because it was not caught and corrected early enough. I know quite a few people that actually had their eyes improve in elem and no longer need glasses. I would do exactly what they tell you.



answers from Boston on

My advice - 2nd opinion.. my dd had a lazy eye which we discovered when she was 4.. we did the patch thing and glasses and were very lucky, she's now 12 and should be able to get rid of the glasses in the next few years. BUT.... I was told way back then, that we were lucky we caught it early because if you don't catch lazy eye and treat it by the time they are 6, it's a done deal and hard to 'fix'. if you catch it when they are 2 and start patching then, you have a good shot. we got lucky because she was 4. Yes she does need the glasses.. make sure she wears them (they are cool now anyway). but I'd take her for a 2nd opinion to a real specialist.. ASK when you call if they specialize in peds cases.. I bring my whole family to one in Peabody who is fabulous ( we went to 4 different ones before settling in with Dr Sorkin). He is the only pediatrict Opthamologist around.. the rest are all Opthamologists with ped training, but Dr Sorkin's specialty is peds cases. The stronger eye may weaken too - not sure if they told you that - from the patching.. good luck..



answers from Boston on

My daughter is also 8 years old and has 20/20 vision in one eye and 20/40 in the other. She was diagnosed when she was about 3 1/2 years old, so a little different situation for us. No eye patch, but I really didn't want her to have glasses because she was SO SHY, and I figured that glasses were not going to help that situation. But my brother is our optometrist, and this is what he told me - I subsequently googled and found stories to verify it. If a child's eye/brain connection does not learn to see 20/20 when they are young - then even when they are older and want to wear glasses, they will not be able to correct their vision to 20/20 - the best they will ever see is whatever their eye was as a child - which in this case would be only 20/40. There would be no chance for her to ever see 20/20 even with glasses. I read of some children in a 3rd world country who had cataracts. When they were older, a charitable organization paid for having the cataracts surgically removed. However, even though their eyes were physically corrected back to 20/20 vision - they could not see 20/20 because the brain/eye training had not happened when they were young. Personally I think it is similar to the concept that they say if you don't hear a sound when you are young - as in a sound that is common to a foreign language but not one that is used in your language - you will never be able to hear and detect that sound when you are older because your brain has not been trained. Anyway, he made me realize that for her sake we should get the glasses. Now, I don't know if at 8 years old it is already too late to train her brain to see 20/20 from that eye - but I would still try. Further, what I found is that at this age- getting glasses is actually a cool thing among their peers. They're actually all jealous and want glasses. My daughter actually doesn't wear her glasses very often these days - when she was young we played a game where I got glasses with only glass in them (but she didn't know that) and we both had to wear our glasses for at least an hour a day. If we did that, we did something fun together as a reward - for us we would play on "Mom & Dad's bed" and have a ticklefest ! Anyway - even though she doesn't wear them much - she still has them with her at school in case the teacher writes something on the board that she can't quite read. I'd say in 3 years at school she's maybe had to wear them 2-3 times. So - even though I didn't want to do the glasses myself - I did understand the importance and it turned out to not be that bad. I would recommend you do the glasses.



answers from Boston on

That is exactly what happened to my daughter 2 years ago. We were told that her weak eye will never be 20/20 so she need glasses for life. As her eye strenthens the persciption will change and she gets new lense(s) Patching with glasses worked great! you can order some really cool patches that fit onto the glasses so you don't need to worry about bandaid type. The way we did it was she put the patch on in the morning right when she woke up and she wore it until recess at school. The more consistant you are at patching the less time it takes.



answers from Boston on

I think that Heather A explained it best. The patch doesn't correct the vision in the weak eye it prevents the brain from ignoring the weak eye. The brain will respond better to accepting the images from the weak eye and integrating those into the total picture it sees when those images are corrected with glasses.

Please know that you are in a critical treatment window now. My step-daughter had patching and glasses before Kindergarten and then slacked off on wearing her glasses over the following couple of years until finally her mother said that she didn't need to wear glasses at all. It sounded like total BS to me and I had several arguments with my husband over it but we couldn't/didn't do anything about it. She's turning 13 and casually informed us few months ago that she has trouble reading and can barely see out of her weak eye. We took her back to the eye doctor and it turns out that she should have been wearing glasses all along and has more or less lost the vision in her weak eye completely and it's not reversible at this age. So enforce the patching, enforce the glasses - I really, really wish we had taken action a couple of years ago when this was fixable!



answers from Boston on

My son and my nephew both patch for this reason. My experience is that more patching than recommended is best (really, as many hours as you can fit it). My nephew who was essentially not using one eye at all by the time they discovered he had a problem used to patch up to 6 hours a day. At various times, we've also patched for that length with my son to get him to 20/20 in the bum eye (he was holding at 20/40 and the eye doctor wanted to move to drops in the good eye -- they blur it to the point where it can't be used to force the weak eye to work). The patching is definitely effective and so worth it. Now is the chance to get your child's vision corrected as once they reach a certain age, there isn't anything that you can do to correct this. Be firm and persistent about the patching. It is worth it, even though it is a hassle.



answers from Boston on

I've had one "normal" eye and one very nearsighted eye all my life, and was not patched as a child. Consequently, my brain divides the labor automatically, assigning distant vision to my left eye and reading and other close tasks to my right eye. Now that I'm in my 70's, I find that I need reading glasses for sheet music on a music stand - which is too close for my distance eye and too far for my near eye - but all my friends have to wear reading glasses too, so it's no big deal. (I actually remove the lens from the right side, because it just confuses my right eye, which had no intention of reading the music in the first place.)

So it's not necessarily true that the weaker eye will lose any function - it may develop its own specialty, as mine did.

The one disadvantage I have found is that I don't have true depth perception. 3-D movies, stereoscopes, and binoculars don't work for me, and it took me a while to understand why I'm so poor at playing tennis or catching a fly ball. Parallel parking is even worse for me than for other people.

But I'm here to tell you that if mismatched eyes aren't perfectly corrected, it's not the end of the world.



answers from Portland on

I have a friend who is in her 70's. She primarily only has vision in one eye because the other eye was not patched when she was a child. I would depend on the medical opinion and do as they suggest.

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